State of Emergency
The Flint, MI water crisis began with a city officials trying to save money. It developed into the declaration of a federal state of emergency after as many of 8,000 children were exposed to lead poisoning. Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder appointed an emergency manager, an unelected official, because Flint was nearing bankruptcy. One way to save money was to stop buying drinking water from Detroit and draw from Lake Huron instead. However the switch could not be implemented right away so the Flint River became the city’s new water source.
After the switch in April 2014, Virginia Tech researchers found that the water was highly corrosive. Lead from the city’s pipes began leaching into the drinking water. In parts of Flint, the percentage of children with high levels of lead in their blood doubled after the switch. That October, the city switched back to the Lake Huron water supply, but the damage was already done.
The People of Michigan
The people of Michigan including children are greatly effected by the lead in their drinking water. Lead poisoning is dangerous for anyone – the related symptoms include skin lesions, hair loss, vision loss, memory loss, and depression and anxiety.
Research shows exposure can affect a developing child’s IQ, resulting in learning disabilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body. The spike in Legionnaires’ disease led to 10 deaths during the same time period of the outbreak. The state of Michigan’s inquiry into the Flint water crisis will consider any potential criminal conduct, including involuntary manslaughter.
“If you have a duty and you breach that duty, because of gross negligence of that breach someone died, and you can show the proximate cause of that death reached to the breach, then you can have involuntary man slaughter,” said Todd Flood. It was not until January 5th that Snyder declared a state of emergency and January 12th that he mobilized the National Guard to assist with distribution of bottled water and water filters.
Michigan Undertaking Plan to Determine if Flint Water is Safe
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has undertaken a five-part strategy to determine whether Flint’s water, contaminated with lead, is safe to drink. This strategy to ensure safe drinking water includes residential water testing, school testings, food service & restaurant provider testing, blood testing, and overall testing of Flint’s water distribution system.
DEQ Interim Director Keith Creagh states that “We know that moving forward requires all levels of government – ”
State officials say water samples from roughly 5000 homes have been tested and about 94% are below the “actionable level” of 15 parts per billion for lead. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder urged all residents to submit a free water test kit, which can be picked up and returned to designated fire stations.
All Hands on Deck
Some $5 million in federal aid has been freed up to immediately assist with the water crisis. However, President Obama denied Snyder’s request for a disaster declaration. Kinds in Flint will get checkups from a doctor’s office on wheels. A 40 ft long RV is a new initiative from Hurley Children’s Hospital to help kids who have been exposed to lead.
More than 300 union plumbers from all over Michigan flooded Flint to install free filters for residents during the last weekend in January. According to ABC12, not all faucets in Flint can fit a filter, which is more than necessary to get rid of lead in water. In one day plumbers replaced faucets and filters in 800 homes.
Celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon, Mark Wahlberg, and Russel Simmons joined the force to donate cases of water to Flint. Aretha Franklin offered free hotel rooms, food and money to families forced from their homes. Many others have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist Flint by any means necessary.
Who is Responsible
Emergency manager, appointed by Rick Snyder – Edward Kurtz, made the decision to use the Flint River water until the new water system was ready. The next emergency manager, Darnell Early, rejected offers from Detroit to continue selling water to Flint until the new system was ready. The state treasurer and Department of Environmental Quality failed to follow federal rules meant to stop lead from infiltrating the water supply.
It is still not clear how much Michigan’s governor knew about the extent of the crisis, or when he knew it. Emails released in January made it clear that Snyder’s advisers were downplaying the situation at hand. Experts say that water treatment would have prevented 90% of the problems with Flint’s water.
As Flint prepares to host a democratic presidential debate on March 6th, the candidates are talking about the city’s tainted water crisis.
You can purchase Water Filters at our store located in Flint, Michigan or from our website online.
Read our blog to learn how to insert/change your own water filter.