The Helpers – The Search for Lead Pipes in America
Posted on May 1, 2020
Posted on May 1, 2020 Erica Walker
Today we launch a new podcast called Confluence and will be bringing you stories about the intersection between public health, water science and technology! To keep the water metaphor alive, our company is a boat riding on a river fed by those three tributaries, and cool stories seem to flow right to us. The podcast gives us a chance to pass these along and, hopefully, further conversations about how to address water quality issues.
Prepare to be moved. Our first episode is about the search for lead pipes in American drinking water systems and a group of bright children in Detroit who built a robot to help the city more efficiently locate lead service lines in their neighborhoods. We interviewed Kate Hayman, the FIRST robotics coach of the Durfee Elementary Robotic Bulldogs. Elin Bentanzo of Safe Water Engineering connected me with Coach Kate (thanks Elin!) after I came across this story last year and I really enjoyed chatting with my fellow-Michigander. Kate also provided us with some photos of the Lead Pipe-Seeking Wormbot, the inventors and the student mentors who supported students during the project.
“ The Bionic Black Hawks of Bloomfield Hills High School, volunteered to serve as student mentors throughout the season, otherwise I could never have managed two teams. Team members volunteered twice a week after school to drive to Durfee and mentor the students in robot design and programming, and in research for their project and presentation practice for judging. Mentoring and expanding opportunity to others is an important part of the FIRST ethos, and our Bionic Black Hawk students were incredibly dedicated” — Kate Hayman
Coach Kate said FIRST is always looking for volunteers. You can learn more about this incredible organization here.
This episode is timely, because the EPA is currently finalizing the revisions to the federal Lead & Copper Rule and all utilities regulated by the LCR will be asked to submit an annual lead service line inventory for the first time. Check out our resources on preparing for the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions and inventorying in general.