Fighting Chicago City hall ain’t pretty. Thank you to all my friends that have stepped up to the plate, and made this possible. As of last week, several others have come forward to investigate the corruption in Government, Good luck to all. Stick together. Operation Crook County has began. Patrick McDonough
Hired Truck whistleblower hurt on job
April 7, 2006
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
A city plumber who helped blow the whistle on the Hired Truck scandal was injured on the job this week, three months after a hearing officer reversed his firing.
When debris on either side of an eight-foot hole started falling in on him, Pat McDonough smelled a rat.
“I’m suspicious. I was put into a dangerous hole. . . . They might have set me up,” said McDonough, 45.
“They’re certainly not happy about having me back. I embarrassed the Water Department with Hired Truck stuff. . . . There was a lot of stuff that came out. Then, ironically, here I am in a cave-in. . . . Maybe they did it to shut me up. Mysterious things start happening to whistleblowers.”
Criticized safety measures
McDonough said the hole — in an alley at 2625 W. 23rd Place — was not shored up on either side, as safety regulations require. That’s another embarrassing allegation that surfaced during sworn testimony at his Personnel Board hearing.
“During the hearing, under oath, we brought up how there’s no shoring, no safety here in the Water Department,” he said. “They keep working illegally in holes that are not shorn up. . . . I brought it to everybody’s attention. Now, I’m the victim of what I’ve been complaining about.
“Either they set me up for a fall or they’re just blatantly ignoring the laws of shoring and trench safety, recklessly endangering my life and everybody else’s.”
Water Management spokesman Tom LaPorte flatly denied McDonough was set up in retaliation for his whistleblowing.
‘Simple accident,’ official says
“He was emerging from a hole at the work site when some debris appears to have crumbled at the edge of the hole. . . . Photographs suggest some loose debris, but nothing that can be described as a collapse,” LaPorte said. “We have no indication this is anything other than a simple accident.”
LaPorte acknowledged that the city’s safety policy demands that trenches more than five feet deep be protected — either by shoring, sloping of the ground or “equivalent means.” They must also be examined by an employee formally trained and designated as “competent.” At least one is assigned to each crew.
“In this case, we have a signed statement from the competent person indicating his professional judgment that the excavation was safe. We are investigating to see whether our policies were followed,” LaPorte said.
The incident occurred about 11 a.m. Wednesday while McDonough was installing new pipes to restore water service to a house with a reported leak.
He was taken away in a Chicago Fire Department ambulance. On Thursday, he complained of back and head trauma, a wrist injury and hands he described as “all cut up.”
The accident marks the latest chapter in McDonough’s City Hall employment saga. He helped blow the whistle on the Hired Truck scandal, got fired last spring for allegedly violating the city’s residency requirement and was hired back after a city hearing officer reversed his firing.
In between, there was explosive testimony at McDonough’s Personnel Board hearing from a co-worker who claimed overtime was for sale in the Department of Water Management and that gambling was rampant on city time at city worksites.
In the ruling that gave McDonough his job back, hearing officer Carl McCormick described a work site “akin to a hellish nightmare” where bribery and bullying reigned supreme. He said it was “difficult to envision a work site more indecent.”
Rx lurking in drinking water
‘THAT CAN’T BE GOOD’ | Antibiotics, ibuprofen — even sex hormones — found in small amounts in water supplies across the country
March 10, 2008
BY JEFF DONN, MARTHA MENDOZA AND JUSTIN PRITCHARD
A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.
The concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Utilities insist their water is safe.
» Click to enlarge image “We know we are being exposed to other people’s drugs through our drinking water, and that can’t be good,” says Dr. David Carpenter.
» Click to enlarge image This crib pumps 650 million gallons of Lake Michigan water to the Jardine Water Purification Plant and then into our water supply every day. “We are confident our purified water is safe,” said Tom LaPorte, spokesman for Chicago’s Department of Water Management.
RELATED STORIESChicago doesn’t test, but says water safe Drugged water could impact human cells AP Video: Drugs found in drinking water
But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our water is heightening worries among scientists over long-term consequences to human health.
In the course of a five-month inquiry, the Associated Press discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas — from Southern California to Northern New Jersey.
Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed. For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public ”doesn’t know how to interpret the information” and might be unduly alarmed.
How do the drugs get into the water?
People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at treatment plants and piped to consumers.
But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.
And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.
”We recognize it is a growing concern, and we’re taking it very seriously,” said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Here are some of the key test results:
• Officials in Philadelphia said testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems.
• Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were detected in a portion of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.
• A sex hormone was detected in San Francisco’s drinking water.
The situation is undoubtedly worse than suggested by the positive test results in the major population centers documented by the AP.
The federal government doesn’t require any testing and hasn’t set safety limits for drugs in water. Of the 62 major water providers contacted, the drinking water for only 28 was tested. Among the 34 that haven’t: Chicago, Miami, Phoenix, Boston and New York City.
Some providers screen only for one or two pharmaceuticals, leaving open the possibility that others are present.
In several cases, officials at municipal or regional water providers told the AP that pharmaceuticals had not been detected, but the AP obtained the results of tests conducted by independent researchers that showed otherwise.
Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don’t necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.
Perhaps it’s because Americans have been taking drugs — and flushing them — in growing amounts. Over the past five years, the number of U.S. prescriptions rose 12 percent to a record 3.7 billion, while nonprescription drug purchases held steady around 3.3 billion.
Some drugs, including widely used cholesterol fighters, tranquilizers and anti-epileptic medications, resist modern treatment processes. Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.
Recent laboratory research has found that small amounts of medication have affected human embryonic kidney cells, human blood cells and human breast cancer cells. The cancer cells proliferated too quickly; the kidney cells grew too slowly; and the blood cells showed biological activity associated with inflammation.
”We know we are being exposed to other people’s drugs through our drinking water, and that can’t be good,” says Dr. David Carpenter, who directs the Institute for Health and the Environment of the State University of New York at Albany.
We did shows on this issue with Commissioner Frank Avila and the McDonough children. This is a major problem in Chicago.
if the hole was not shored up properly why did you get in it ? I think you cause most of these problems for yourself, if there was a colapse and you were buried up to your waist how did you hurt your wrist? where was your hard hat? suing for workmans comp, I’d think about this carfully before always jumping the gun, you might have some fault in this smart guy
That is a great Question. Thanks to the Chicago Media, this issue was brought to Management’s attention. Chicago’s Department of Water Management is just starting to make things safer. Use your real name and use spell check.
How many times are you gonna whine about your minor league experience?
If you were any real threat to the boys, you’d be a cold case missing person report by now.
And, anyway, you’ve been sucking up to the heavy hitters for the last few months, so they must have flipped your ass.
And that means you’re now one of the boys, albeit rather low on the totum pole.
Get over it.
(Response) You are giving me stress! Do you know about art? What it is?
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