Think Flint’s Water Is Bad? Your Tap Could Be Poisoned Next
For years, the people of Flint, Mich., and state inspectors were waving red flags that the water people were drinking was not safe. Their warnings were ignored or covered up. So people in Flint were cooking with and drinking water that contained too much lead.
There are many layers of responsibility for the poisoning of the city’s municipal water supply.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) resignation. Hillary Clinton told a Martin Luther King event audience in Charleston, S.C.,“We would be outraged if this happened to white kids, and we should be outraged that it’s happening right now to black kids.”
Although he failed to remind Clinton that white kids live in Flint, too, Snyder did accuse her of “politicizing” the problems of the people in that community.
But Snyder apologized to Flint residents in his State of the State address Tuesday, and said they deserved better.
Snyder didn’t fall on his sword alone. He also blamed the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their lack of response to the first alarms of bad water in one of the state’s most economically depressed cities.
"Government failed you at the federal, state and local level," Snyder said. "We need to make sure this never happens again in any Michigan city."
With his promise, Snyder may have inadvertently waved the largest red flag of the Flint water crisis that has claimed an international spotlight.
There is no guarantee that what happened in Flint will not happen in any other major American community. In fact, Joseph Kane, a researcher at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program, told PJM it could, and probably will, happen anywhere, anytime.
It isn’t a question of black people being ignored, as Hillary Clinton suggested, while white people would have their problems addressed. It is a matter of money. Affluent communities that can afford to repair and reline their water pipes don’t have problems like what Flint is facing.
Aside from bureaucratic malfeasance, Flint’s water problems can be blamed on aging infrastructure. Basically, corroded pipes.
True, if the proper chemicals had been administered to the water when state officials switched the town from the Detroit water system to the Flint River, there would not have been a problem.
The chemicals would have coated the water pipes and prevented the lead from leaking into the water system. But the fact remains, the lead is a problem because Flint’s water pipes have reached the end of their life expectancy.
Here’s the kicker: your town could be next.