The Tomahawk

Flint Water Crisis

Photo+by+Ritchie+King+and+Ella+Koeze.
Photo by Ritchie King and Ella Koeze.

Photo by Ritchie King and Ella Koeze.

Photo by Ritchie King and Ella Koeze.

Victoria Pettey and Kylie Kuskowski

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In April of 2014, the lives of Flint residents were changed for the worst. In an attempt to save money, the city of Flint decided to switch water suppliers. Instead of paying the city of Detroit for their water, they decided to use water from the Flint River. Since the Flint pipelines hadn’t been in use for many years, they weren’t as clean as expected. After the change, the murky brown water resulted in extreme sickness. It turns out that the Department of Environmental Quality had not been treating the pipes with proper anti-corrosive agents.

The residents grew worried. They soon found out that iron and lead from the pipes were leaking into their water supply. City officials were quick to tell them that everything was fine. The mayor of Flint, Dayne Walling, went as far as to drink it in front of his whole city on live television. Little did they know, this crisis would eventually become a national headline. The city was fed up that they were drinking toxins. Resident Rhonda Kelso claimed, “You’re paying for poison. I’m paying for water that’s a toxic waste,” (Ganim; Tran). A group of researchers from Virginia Tech began sampling the city’s water. They soon published that it contained unsafe amounts of lead.

In February 2015, it was discovered that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was lying to the EPA. “Against federal guidelines, they chose not to require the Flint water plant to use optimized corrosion control, despite telling the Environmental Protection Agency they were doing so in an e-mail on Feb. 27, 2015” (Barry-Jester). It took until October for a Public Health Emergency to be issued by the government. The turning point was due to the discovery of high amounts of lead in children’s blood levels. Families—living in a relatively poor area—were forced to buy bottled water for the sake of themselves and for their loved ones. The bottled water was not only for drinking, however, as it had to be used for every day purposes.

If you are interested in helping these families in need, there are a number of organizations you can reach out to, including the Flint Water Response Team (http://www.helpforflint.com/). Many Fire Departments in Flint are also accepting monetary donations as well as cases of bottled water. These charities are open to residents of Flint.

To learn more about the crisis in Flint, you can visit these sites:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/11/health/toxic-tap-water-flint-michigan/

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-went-wrong-in-flint-water-crisis-michigan/

 

 

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