Baltimore Community Distrustful After E-Coli Water Outbreak

Baltimore Community Distrustful After E-Coli Water Outbreak

During the first two weeks of September, Baltimore residents were put under a boil water advisory which affected more than 1,500 citizens.  Those residents were forced to boil their water for 1 minute or buy bottled water. This became a tedious task and, in some cases, an impossible one. Not everyone could afford to buy cases of water and had to rely on tap water as their main source. Even though the boil water advisory has passed many citizens are still skeptical about using tap water.

Eighty-three-year-old Keith Lattimore, who has lived in Baltimore for more than 50 years, says that he still only drinks bottled water. 

 “I don’t trust the tap water; those pipes can have anything in them, and we wouldn’t know,” Lattimore said. “My daughter called me to talk about the bacteria outbreak and told me to be careful washing my dishes. So, you know what I did? I went and bought plastic utensils.”

Lattimore enjoys watching football every Sunday with his grandson. He believes that family is the most important thing to him.

“At the end of the day family is all you got. My family is the reason for my happiness, and I want my family to be as healthy as possible.”

Jamie Curtis is an activist in west Baltimore and visits many recreation centers to see if there is anything she can do to help. After hearing about the E-coli outbreak, she knew that it was her duty to do something.

“Once I saw the news about the water outbreak I immediately thought about the less fortunate,” said Curtis. “I drove to Walmart and bought as many gallons of water as I could. For the next week, I drove around handing the waters out to anyone who would accept them.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old DeAngelo Thompson, a Syracuse University student currently taking a semester off, is continuing to boil his water.

Thompson says, “At my house, I can get water directly from the refrigerator. I’m not sure if that water falls under the advisory but I don’t think so. But when I do use the sink water to make oatmeal, I make sure that I boil my water for an appropriate amount of time.”

There are also people in Baltimore that did not even know the water advisory was taking place.

When asked what it would take for the city to regain his trust Keith Lattimore had a simple request.

“I want to understand what’s going on in my city when it happens, not days later. I love Baltimore,” said Lattimore. “ I have been here for over half my life. But if you want people to live in your city and be happy it needs to feel like their opinions matter, and you need to make them feel like they matter to the city.”

Featured Image courtesy of Howard Wicker