Everyone who is affected by the lead-contaminated water issue in Flint, Michigan wants to know why it happened and what is being done to correct the problem. Below is a brief overview of the contaminated water problem and what is being done about it.
How Did The Problem Start?
According to an article reported on CNN, approximately two years ago, when Flint was experiencing a financial state of emergency, the decision was made by the state to switch water sources for the city of Flint. Getting water sourced from the Flint River was a cheaper course of action for Flint than sourcing water from the Lake Huron, which was the city’s traditional source of water. Soon after the switch was made, residents in Flint began to notice that their water was cloudy, dirty, smelly and foul tasting. It turned out that the Flint River had not been treated with anti-corrosive agents by the state Department of Environmental Quality as it should have under federal law, and the corrosive water was eating away at the pipes, leaching pipe materials into the water supply. One of the pipe materials was lead.
Eighteen Months Worth of Corrosion Leaves Flint’s Water System Irreparable
For 18 months, the residents of Flint were supplied the tainted water from the Flint river, and state and local authorities insisted that the water was safe for consumption. It wasn’t until actions taken by a local pediatrician, who had seen an alarming increase in the number of children patients with unusual symptoms, such as hair loss and rashes, which are symptoms of lead poisoning, that things began to change. By comparing blood testing results from some of the children presenting symptoms to blood test data that had been obtained from the children before the water crisis, the doctor was able to identify higher than usual lead levels in the children’s blood. Her discovery prompted the state and local authorities to start making changes to correct the problem.
Corrective Measures Fall Short
The city of Flint switched back to using Lake Huron as a water source, but the damage to the pipelines was significant. Changing the water source was not enough to remedy the problem because the pipelines are now so corroded that lead is seeping into the water regardless of the source. In response, the state has begun supplying those residents who are affected by lead in their water with filters and supplies of bottled water.
Residents Are Taking Legal Action With A Class Action Filing
Many residents are upset by what has happened to their water supply and are upset by how local and state government has handled the problem thus far. Several Flint families that have been affected by this crisis have banded together and filed a class action lawsuit in order to seek justice.