Published: May 14, 2015

    The Dirty Water Debate in Flint, MI [Update]

    Over the past several months, residents of Flint, Michigan have endured disturbing water quality issues that have left them frustrated and angry.

    It all started shortly after the city – in an attempt to save money – stopped purchasing treated Lake Huron water from Detroit in favor of locally-treated water drawn from the Flint River. Within weeks, residents began noticing discolored water flowing from their taps. The reason? Fecal coliform bacteria, which can cause serious gastrointestinal issues, made its way into the system. The presence of this microorganism is also a strong indicator that other disease-causing microorganisms may be lurking within the water.

    In response to complaints, the city put residents under boil water advisories three separate times between August and September of 2014. At the same time, officials began pumping extra chemicals into the system in an attempt to kill the bacteria. Unfortunately, this caused a whole new problem by elevating levels of trihalomethane, which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, has the potential to cause liver and kidney damage, as well as an increased risk of cancer.

    After subsisting on bottled water for some time, residents are now getting the “all clear” sign from city officials, who say tests indicate that trihalomethane (TTHM) levels are within allowable standards. Still, at the urging of many residents, Flint’s City Council is taking action to prevent recurring problems, voting to “do all things necessary” to reconnect the city’s water supply to the Detroit Water and Sewage Department.

    Detroit has said it will charge Flint $850,000 per month to reconnect to its water system. Some believe that the expense will be too great, especially since there is no evidence that Detroit’s water is any safer than the current water Flint is using.

    While its officials work to alleviate residents’ concerns about water quality, Flint’s long-term plan involves connecting to the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline, which is scheduled for completion in 2016. In the meantime, however, residents can expect a 30 to 40% increase in water costs, should the city follow through with its plans to re-establish a connection to Detroit water.

    When Municipal Water Fails

    While compelling, Flint’s water troubles aren’t unique. Studies have shown that a number of major metropolitan areas have potentially serious water quality issues that have drawn concern from numerous experts. While they do provide countless gallons of potable water to thirsty citizens, municipal water facilities aren’t perfect. Fortunately, by installing a Pelican whole house water filter and UV system, you can ensure that your water is protected against 99.9% of contaminants and pathogens. To learn more, call us at 877-842-1635.