Flint, Michigan Water Crisis: Background
By Sarah White
is where the crisis all started. Flint was discovered in 1819 as a trading
post, just 60 miles of Detroit. Flint is home to Buick Motor Company and
General Motors. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, various plants began to
relocate which left the once economically thriving Flint, to a shrinking economy and dwindling population.
In April of 2014
, flint’s water supply was switched to
the Karegnondi Water Authority from the Detroit water and sewerage Department.
This was done to save money, but instead it caused years of issues. Flint is a
city with 40% of it’s residents being black. Only a month later residents began
to complain that the water supply looked and smelled strange. Government
officials did nothing to address this issue and then in August of 2014, E. coli and coliform
were found in their water source.
Coliform is used as an indication to access the quality of both food and water.
The Environmental Protection Agency
began to warn Flint about the levels of
lead in the water; however, it was too late. The pipes had already been damaged
and there was nothing more that could be done about lead leaking into
resident’s water supply. The city switched back to its old water supply, but it
was too late to change the damage that was already done to the pipes. President
Obama declared a federal state of emergency due to this public health crisis.
Government officials gave out free water bottles to the residents of flint but
even after a year the residents were still using bottled water.
30,000 lead pipes had to be replaced before the water was safe again to use.
According to the World Health Organization
“Children are particularly vulnerable to
the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can
cause serious and in some cases irreversible neurological damage.” This all
began between June 2012 and April 2013 when officials of Flint wanted to see
what it could do to potentially save millions of dollars. The alternative that
officials looked at was Flint building its own pipeline that would connect to
the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).
In return over 25 years, $200 million
dollars would be saved. Initially when the switch was made, government
officials did not treat the river to ensure corrosion did not happen, they
wanted to “wait it out and see.”
Flint Crisis: What is being done?
By Sarah White
Governor Snyder signed a bill
in October of 2015 which would allow
$9.35 million to help Flint with this water crisis. The water supply is
switched back to Detroit water but residents are warned it could take weeks to
properly get lead out of the system. Residents filed a class action lawsuit
against 14 city and state officials,
which stated they knowingly exposed their residents to toxic water. In the
beginning of 2016, Flit is hit with a another federal lawsuit stating the
violation of the Safe Water Drinking Act.
Criminal charges against three
government employees were filed. A class action lawsuit against the EPA
was filed by five hundred and fourteen residents. In 2017,
the EPA awarded $100 million
for upgrades and a federal judge
approved a $97 million settlement