WaterCrisis in Flint Michigan
WaterCrisis in Flint Michigan
Numerouscomplaints emerged regarding toxic as well as increasing lead levelin the waters in Flint, Michigan. It has been reported that therelease of toxic lead in the new water system supplying water to theFlint’s residents, which called concerns about the water pollutants(Kennedy, 2016). Unfortunately, the fundamental problem ofcontaminated water is not among the fundamental factors leading to anincrease in lawsuits. However, it has taken individuals to thestreets to demonstrate for the resignation of the governor due to theseverity of the clean water issue within the city. This paper willfocus on the key issues contributing to contamination or lack ofclean water in the city of Flint. The report will also cover theprimary reason why residents of the city of Flint cannot get justiceor alleviation for the detective water system running their health.The paper will finally explore the fault of the individual andleaders contributing to the efficient water supply system and themeasures toward an effective solution.
Keywords:City of Flint, water, system, government, residents, Michigan
Familiesin the city of Flint have been bearing scars due to the contaminationof water. The water crisis in Flint can be witnessed from the storyof its residents who have suffered due to the toxic substances in thewater. This issue can be explored by a story of Nakiya Wakes, aresident of Flint whose dreams of expanding her family was crusheddown. This happened after she was rushed to the hospital only to betold that she had a miscarriage due to the effect of watercontaminated by lead. She is part of the increasing number ofresidents who are victims of the water crisis in Flint. It has beenreported that about 10% to 20% of the overall pregnancies in the cityof Flint result in miscarriages. This has called for MichiganOfficials to carry out an investigation to determine whether thepresence of lead in the water may have any effect on the increasednumber of miscarriages (Gostin,2016).The main issue of water crisis emerges from lead poisoning in thewater tap, which should be managed by the local government.
Whythe residents of Flint cannot get justice for a defective watersystem that is ruining their health?
Theprimary focus of this paper is to explore water crisis in the city ofFlint by examining the issue of lead pollution. This will be achievedthrough evaluation of the impact of consumption of water thatcontaminated with lead and the authority responsible for the controlof such incidences in Michigan. The study will also examine why theresidents of Flint cannot get justice or alleviation for defectivewater system ruining their health as well as looking for fault by thepeople reluctant in implementing necessary measures and effectivesolution.
Thequality of the water in the Flint River downstream have been degradedsince the 1970s because of the presence of toxic substances. Theincreased health complaints called for the state in 2001 to order toensure that the polluted sites of the Flint River are cleaned up(Snyder, 2016). Nevertheless, it was identified by the lawsuitclass-section that there was reluctance in the state Department ofEnvironmental Quality in treating river water using anticorrosivesubstance, hence violating the federal law. It was discovered thatthe river water was 19 times more toxic than the water from LakeHuron (Edwards& Pruden, 2016).The adverse water pollution incidences needed concerned that calledfor the decoration of the federal state of emergency by PresidentObama and invited responsible agencies such as the Federal EmergencyManagement Agency to resolve water crisis.
However,there has been a challenge in identifying the extreme limits of leadin water that may cause an adverse effect to the residents. The highlevel of lead in the blood has been associated with stunt mentalgrowth in children, which may sometimes result in violent behavior(Kennedy,2016).The residents of the city of Flint have accused Snyder administrationof the delayed measures to mitigate the crisis. There have beenvarious complaints regarding discolored and odorous tape water fromthe residents after the change of water source that they claimed itcaused skin rashes and other health hazards.
Lackof justice in handling grievances emerging from the residentsregarding water pollution led to poor performance of children inschools. The child with a high level of lead in the bloodstream isassociated with low proficient in science mathematics and readingskills. This has resulted in a significant low academic performancewithin the city. Harder and Maher (2016) asserts that the state ofMichigan added a problem to an economically weak state by using waterpipes that are corrosive (Hanna-Attishaet al., 2016).The damage caused by caused by the new pipes was higher than theprevious water supply since they are releasing a significant amountof lead that is swept by the running water.
Thereare various reasons why Flint’s residents have not been able to getjustice to alleviate the contamination of pipe water. For instance,there has been mishandling of the crisis by Environmental ProtectionAgency as well as Michigan Department of Environmental Quality(MDEQ). The piped water in Flint became contaminated with lead fromApril 2014 due to switching of city’s water to Flint River fromLake Huron (Ganim& Tran, 2016).However, the state regulators did not obtain corrosion control agent,creating room for the lead to leach from pipes and flow along withwater. The blame was put on the state officials and the office of thegovernor for failing to resolve water crisis.
Thewater used by the residents was not effectively treated, allowingleaching of toxic lead into the flowing water. This caused increasedlevels of neurotoxins that affected the health of the residents.Regardless of several lawsuits, residents have not been able toacquire justice based on the harm caused by the leaded water.Bellinger(2016) articulates that theswitching of the water supply system was proposed by the Flintofficials who purposed to save about 200million within 25 years. Themistake resulted when the official failed to treat water to preventit from corroding the pipes. The Safe Drinking Water Act was violatedby the Flint officials, since trihalomethanes level was high in thewater (Bellinger,2016).The problem continued since instead of complying with Safe Drinkingwater. First, the state started purchasing bottled water to ensurethat the civil servants at the government workplaces have clean waterfor their consumption. This increased health effects caused byconsumption of leaded water by the poor individuals in Flint.
Theneed for solution to the water crisis in has resulted in variouslawsuits against government officials to ensure that justice isprovided to Flint’s residents. However, several investigationsshould be opened to examine the reasons that led to the change ofwater supply source to the Flint River (Bellinger,2016).The measure should be taken to draw the concern on the issue, forinstance, Rich Snyder, Michigan’s Governor, declared contaminatedwater in the city as a state of emergency, after which PresidentObama announced it as a Federal state of emergency. Subsequently, thepresident invited the Department of the Homeland Security as well asthe Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist in solving watercrisis in the city (Edwards,& Pruden, 2016).Again, one official from MDEQ and another from the EnvironmentalProtection Agency were forced to resign after being accused ofmishandling the crisis. Additionally, another staff member from MDEQwas also fired.
Theseriousness of ensuring that Flint’s residents have justice will beachieved through fair court judgments. Thirteen criminal cases werefiled against both state and local officials regarding the crisis.The budget should be also set to improve the infrastructure. Forinstance, Snyder apologized to the residents and promised to fix theissue where he allocated $28 million for the infrastructure, medicalcare, and supplies improvements. Residents and businesses were alsogiven 65% and 20% of their water bill credit, respectively (Snyder,2016). Governor Snyder also organized for the replacements of leadpipes by approving $30 million budget to finance the project.However, there is also need to repair and upgrade the water system ofFlint as well as helping in healthcare costs of the victims. This wasachieved after the United States House of Representatives as well asthe Senate approved the budget of $170 million (Kennedy, 2016). Theinfrastructure repair was allocated $100 million healthcare costs $50 million, and the remaining 20 million was allocated for payingback the loans obtained as a result of the crisis.
Thecorroded pipes also need to be fixed, and the lead is expected tomake a protective film inside the corroded pipes that would make thewater safer. However, this is not a long-term solution since no oneknows how long it will take for the film to form (Sara & Linh,2016). There is a need to increase the National Guard’s support toensure every house of the residents is visited to provide water andfilters. The funding from the legislature is also required to supportmeasures toward providing all residents with clean water as well astaking proper care of the affected children (Snyder, 2016). Bottledwater and filters will be made available for everyone. Nevertheless,there is a need for testing as well as replacement of fixtures inschools and other high-risk areas.
Tosum up, when solving the crisis, it is crucial to ensure justice tothe public. The paper shows that the contamination of the water inthe city of Flint was caused by the failure of the concerned partiesto comply with the set regulations. The new water pipes were setwithout considering the Safe Drinking Water Act, which ensures thatthe water supplied is safe for consumption. The local governmentunder the leadership of governor contributed to reaching the solutionof the water crisis in Flint by allocating funds to support safetymeasures. The water crisis issue in Flint attracted the attention ofboth state and local government to look for the future solution ofthe problems. However, to ensure justice is done to Flint’sresidents, the employment contract of four state officials wasterminated due to mishandling of the crisis. Thirteen lawsuits werealso filed against the state officials who were suspected to havebroken the law that leads to the emergence of the water crisis inFlint. The suggested solutions are also significant elements that canbe used to prevent the occurrence of the water crisis in Flint andother cities across the world.
Bellinger,D. C. (2016). Lead contamination in Flint an abject failure toprotect public health. NewEngland Journal of Medicine,374(12),1101-1103.
Edwards,M. A., & Pruden, A. (2016). The Flint Water Crisis: Overturningthe Research Paradigm to Advance Science and Defend Public Welfare.
Ganim,S., & Tran, L. (2016). How tap water became toxic in Flint,Michigan.
Gostin,L. O. (2016). Politics and Public Health: The Flint Drinking WaterCrisis. HastingsCenter Report,46(4),5-6.
Hanna-Attisha,M., LaChance, J., Sadler, R. C., & Champney Schnepp, A. (2016).Elevated blood lead levels in children associated with the Flintdrinking water crisis: a spatial analysis of risk and public healthresponse. Americanjournal of public health,106(2),283-290.
Kennedy,C. (2016). Blood lead levels among children aged< 6 years—Flint,Michigan, 2013–2016. MMWR.Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,65.
Kennedy,M., (2016). Lead-Laced Water In Flint: A Step-By-Step Look at theMakings Of A Crisis. Retrieved fromhttp://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/20/465545378/lead-laced-water-in-flint-a-step-by-step-look-at-the-makings-of-a-crisis
Sara,G. & Linh, T., (2016). How Tap Water Became Toxic In Flint,Michigan. CNN. Retrieved fromhttp://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/11/health/toxic-tap-water-flint-michigan
SnyderR. (2016). Prepared remarks on the Flint Water Crisis. Retrieved fromhttp://www.michigan.gov/documents/snyder/Prepared+remarks_511427_7.pdf