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Harris Fires Back at Providence Water Supply on Lead Info

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Johanna Harris

Former Chair of the Providence Board of Licenses Johanna Harris -- who writes the blog "Providence Rules" - has fired back at Providence Water's response to her recent post. 

Harris had written "Lead in Our Tap Water: Providence RI versus Flint MI" to which Providence Water called Harris' findings "not representative of [our] data."

On Tuesday, Harris wrote the following response:

Providence Water has tapped Dyana Koelsch of DK Communications to respond to my July 3 blog post Lead in Our Tap Water: Providence RI versus Flint MI. In an interview published on July 11 in GoLocalProv, Koelsch noted, “The conclusions she has drawn are not representative of the data, Providence Water’s findings or its ongoing activities regarding lead.”

Koelsch’s defense offers no new analysis of her client’s own database of tap-water lead measurements to show where I supposedly went wrong. Nothing in her defense rebuts my conclusion that certain sections of the city, especially the area around Ward 2 on the East Side, have levels of lead in first-draw samples of tap water comparable to those published for Flint, Michigan. 

Nothing in her response contradicts my conclusion that the official statistics reported by Providence Water in its annual water quality reports obscure the seriousness of the local problem by combining Providence with neighboring Cranston, Johnston and North Providence. 

Nothing in her response rebuts my conclusion that, while there is evidence of an improvement during the past 2–3 years, Providence still appears to be far from solving a serious public health problem.

Read Harris' full response HERE. 


Related Slideshow: Lead Poisoning for Children — Hot Spots in RI

Source: State agencies or CDC. Some states did not include data for census tracts and zip codes if the testing numbers were small, usually below five, to protect patient privacy. These areas appear as if no one was tested.

Data by zip code: RI

Years: Data 2005-2015

DATA: Developed by Reuters

Zip codes with <100 children tested not included in ranking.

Prev Next



ZIP: 02813


Number of Children Tested: 1,437


Percent Elevated: 10.02%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02904


Number of Children Tested: 8,975


Percent Elevated: 10.07%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02910


Number of Children Tested: 6,343


Percent Elevated: 10.37%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02894


Number of Children Tested: 621


Percent Elevated: 10.47%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02891


Number of Children Tested: 4,241


Percent Elevated: 10.16%

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East Providence


ZIP: 02915


Number of Children Tested: 4,711


Percent Elevated: 11.12%

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ZIP: 02895


Number of Children Tested: 15,651


Percent Elevated: 11.34%

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Little Compton


ZIP: 02837


Number of Children Tested: 819


Percent Elevated: 11.72%

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ZIP: 02859


Number of Children Tested: 1600


Percent Elevated: 12%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02909


Number of Children Tested: 24,764


Percent Elevated: 12%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02832


Number of Children Tested: 1,012


Percent Elevated: 12.35%

Prev Next

East Providence


ZIP: 02914


Number of Children Tested: 8,045


Percent Elevated: 12.77%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02885


Number of Children Tested: 3,458


Percent Elevated: 12.78%

Prev Next

Providence East Side


ZIP: 02906


Number of Children Tested: 6,484


Percent Elevated: 13.66%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02860


Number of Children Tested: 21,099


Percent Elevated: 14.19%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02840


Number of Children Tested: 7,068


Percent Elevated: 14.77%

Prev Next

Central Falls


ZIP: 02863


Number of Children Tested: 10,897


Percent Elevated: 16.22%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02028


Number of Children Tested: 15,943


Percent Elevated: 18.14%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02905


Number of Children Tested: 10,245


Percent Elevated: 18.53%

Prev Next



ZIP: 02907


Number of Children Tested: 17,249


Percent Elevated: 22.63%


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