Activists in Flint, Michigan, are seeking a sense of justice in the wake of their city's water crisis. Victims claim a public health crisis was triggered by calculated decisions that deliberately exposed Flint residents to the harmful health effects of lead. Since the beginning, many residents have not known whether they can trust the water from the tap.
The manager, who reports directly to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), decided to move the city's water supply from the Detroit Water and Wastewater Authority (DWSD) to the Flint River for cost reasons. He is accused of misleading the Michigan Department of Finance to obtain millions of bonds and misusing the money to finance the construction of a new pipeline that would convert Flint's drinking water source into Flint River.
Flint tapped Detroit's urban water system to get water from Lake Huron and the Detroit River. Flint was reconnected to the Great Lakes water on October 16, provided by the Detroit Water and Sanitation Department.
As the state tried to cut costs in Flint, it approved a plan to switch Flint's water source from the Detroit Water and Sewage Authority to the rough Flint River. Flint had to make a major change for the first time and pump its drinking water out of the Flint River. In 2014, Flint switched its water supply from Detroit's water system, which draws from Lake Huron, and used water from the river instead. It was indeed so bad that Flint got the water in Detroit and pumped it into the river to dispose of it, but there is no evidence that there was a direct link between the use of water in Detroit and the contamination of water in Flint.
When Flint's water was switched to a new spring, the Flint River, in 2014, it seeped into the city's drinking water supply. In Flint, these caustic chemicals ate away at the protective layer that prevents lead pipes from getting into drinking water, and as a result, some of the state's old pipes needed local water treatment plants to protect urban water pipes from corrosion. But authorities failed to add corrosion inhibitors to the Michigan River's water in time for its first use in Flint in April 2014. When the water of the Flint River began to flow, this corrosive water led to the leaching of lead from the joints of pipes and fittings, resulting in corrosion of lead-laden pipes, valves and other parts of the Flint water system, causing lead poisoning in children and adults, and foul-smelling discolored water entering Flint homes. When Flint water was switched from Detroit's water system to new sources like the Detroit Water and Sewage Authority and newer sources like the Lansing Water System in 2015, lead was still seeping into the water supply, but not as much as it was before the river switched to its water, officials said.
The lawsuit would continue to be fought with Michigan's Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Snyder administration switched Flint to Detroit's water system in 2014, reversing an earlier plan that, like other communities in Genesee County, Flint should get water from the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline to Flint. That led to efforts to reduce water costs by switching Flint's water supply from Detroit's water and sewage district to the Flint River, according to court documents.
The Flint lawsuit prompted the state to appoint a number of emergency managers to run the city of Flint after years of financial hardship. The city could not prove that it could treat the Flint River for drinking water in an emergency, and in the interest of public health in Flint, it would no longer use it for drinking water. Flint's water crisis will not be over until water is made as safe as in other cities to make water prices affordable.
There is a broader problem we are seeing with lead in Flint's drinking water, and it's not just the Flint River problem.
In August 2019, the state of Michigan warned city authorities that Flint had violated the Safe Drinking Water Act by failing to test water in sanitation facilities for lead. In 2015, the world was told that the water in Flint, Michigan, was contaminated with lead. The EPA is suing the city of Flint and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for causing the Flint crisis. When Flint's water crisis gripped this Michigan city in 2014 and 2015, I spent months contacting reporters about the health disaster that accompanied the "Flint River" that gripped Michigan cities from 2014 to 2015.
To save money, the city of Flint switched its water supply to water from the heavily contaminated Flint River in 2014. Officials in Flint, Michigan, switched the city's water supply to the Flint River in 2014 for cost reasons - a measure that doesn't work in a struggling city. The city had moved its water source from Detroit to Flint's River, resulting in contaminated drinking water containing lead and other toxins. A company signed a contract with Flint to buy water from Lake Huron instead of using the water from the Flint River, the Associated Press news agency reported.