Published: January 12, 2016

    Flint, Michigan Water Crisis Under Federal Investigation

    The story of Flint, Michigan’s mismanaged water supply continues to develop, with a state of emergency declared for Genesee County and the initiation of a federal investigation by the US attorney’s office.

    Flint’s water issues are by now well-known. After switching from Detroit’s water supply to the local Flint River in 2014, the city saw a spike in complaints about water color, odor, and taste. People blamed the water on a wide variety of ailments, but were assured their drinking water was safe.

    Then allegations surfaced that Flint’s water contained high amounts of lead. Again, assurances were made the water was safe. When pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha of the Hurley Medical Center reported levels of lead in Flint children had doubled—and in some cases tripled—since the water switch, her findings were questioned by state and municipal leaders.

    As of October, 2015, the state returned Flint to the Detroit water supply. In November of the same year, a class action lawsuit was filed against the city and state on behalf of Flint’s 100,000 residents. The damage caused by lead to growing children’s bodies and brains, however, is irreversible.

    On January 7, 2016, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency for Flint and Genesee County due to the water crisis. A spokesperson from the US attorney’s office for the eastern district of Michigan confirmed a federal investigation was underway, with the support of the EPA. At issue is the culpability of local and state officials in denying a disaster which, according to NBC News, could have been prevented for as little as $100 a day.

    It should be noted that lead levels in the Flint River are not especially high. Salt levels in the river, however, are. An October, 2015 public health declaration by the Genesee County Board of Commissioners reveals the water met all federal standards, but when the water entered the city’s aging pipes high salt concentration corroded pipes, leaching lead out of solder connections.

    What can we learn from Flint’s crisis, other than the sad fact we cannot always take the words of those in positions of authority at face value? Flint is by no means the only city with an aging water supply infrastructure—across the nation water processing plants and delivery systems are in desperate need of renewal, with precious little money available to fund infrastructure programs. Corrosion need not be as severe as it was in Flint to cause adverse health effects, especially in children.

    Fortunately, there are steps we can take to ensure cleaner, safer drinking water. Point of entry water filter systems remove contaminants such as chlorine, and chlorine byproducts from drinking water before it enters your home plumbing. Starting at prices as low as $839.00, a whole house filter is an affordable, significant investment in your family’s health. For lead, you should consider our countertop drinking filter system.

    After all, what happened in Flint could happen anywhere.