This month, "For Openers" discusses the latest fuss regarding water contamination.

Last month, the Washington Post front-paged a story about lead levels in water being misrepresented by utilities. There was much bluster about “cities across the country manipulating the results of tests … violating federal law and putting millions of Americans at risk ….” The sky-is-falling camp's position was summed up by former EPA drinking water honcho Jim Elder who claims, “It's time to consider whether water utilities can be trusted. I fear for the safety of our nation's drinking water …. Apparently, it's a crapshoot as to what's going to come out of the tap ….” (I have to hope that his agonizingly bad pun was unintended.)

And what was the public's reaction to this imminent, all-devastating cataclysm we face? While the doom-and-gloomers were tacking together protest signs and mapping out demonstration march routes for the masses, all you could hear were crickets and the occasional tumbleweed skitter by.

Who's not in favor of clean water? But where's the uproar? The public might just be a little jaded these days. Do you even know what color terror alert we're on today?

Quite possibly it's a byproduct of these “failed government intelligence” times in which we live. Are you sitting down? In a relatively small number of places, bloated, poorly overseen water utilities are getting crafty with the regulators and trying to cover up something they'd rather we didn't know about. The shock and outrage pass rather quickly, don't they? It ranks right up there with public officials sending their kids to private school. Maybe we can put some U.N. inspectors on the case; they've got some free time.

A decidedly informal poll conducted among colleagues, friends and fellow patrons at Big Ed's Beef & Brew indicates that most people are distrustful of those types of tests and their results in the first place. So when word gets out that some of the numbers are being doctored, people can't say, “I told you so” - they're too busy yawning.

Will this “revelation” increase sales of POU/POE water treatment products? Certainly - to a point. But for the right reasons? Not always. The lower life forms that make their livings using scare tactics already have been to Kinko's. They all have 2,000 copies of the article with all the “good parts” highlighted. But the pendulum might be swinging back the other way a bit. In the world today, we've got schools blowing up, beheadings, American soldiers in harm's way and a fragile domestic economic situation - we don't scare as easily anymore.

As for the professionals - it's the same deal as always. Educate your customers and prospects and do quality work.

Sight Seen

Two motorists at the gas pump barking about having to pay $2.19 for a gallon for gas - between sips of their $2.50-a-pint bottles of water.

And the Winner Is

Congratulations are in order for Dale Seppa of Virginia, Minn. Dale was the lucky winner of our drawing among those readers who completed one ofNational Driller'srecent surveys. He's now the proud owner of a clean, crisp $100 American Express gift certificate. Don't spend it all in one place, Dale!