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Water Crisis in Flint: How It Happened and How You can Help

flint michigan water problems
Posted: January 23, 2016 at 9:45 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

It was recently discovered that the residents of Flint, Michigan has been consuming high levels of lead in their water for many years now. During the summer of 2014, LeeAnne Walters noticed that her son would get rashes after swimming in the pool at their home in Flint. By December of the same year, she stopped letting her children drink water from the tap and reported the situation to the city’s utility department for evaluation. This led to the discovery of the contamination of the city’s water.

According to a reading conducted by an inspector to the Walter home, the water had lead levels of 104 parts per billion. Note that, anything more than 15 ppb is deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When the water was tested again in March 2015, lead levels reached to 397 ppb.

How did it come to this?

Flint has been buying their water from Detroit until April 2014 as they changed their source to Flint River in an attempt to cut costs. This measure was their short-term solution while they wait for a new pipeline to be built. The water coming from the river was very corrosive that it damaged the lead pipes. However, officials didn’t implement corrosion control for the prevention of lead contamination.

flint michigan water problems

Exemplary pictures looking into Flint drinking water pipes, showing different kinds of iron corrosion and rust (Photo: Min Tang and Kelsey Pieper)

Citizens then began to complain of the water quality. The Virginia Tech and Michigan department of environmental quality took 271 samples for testing.

How you can help Flint residents

  • Donate by bringing clean water to the families. The United Way of Genesee County had set up a Flint Water Fund where donations will go to buying filters and bottled waters for the residents, as well as other services and prevention efforts.
  • Keep the public informed.
  • Help organizations that support public health services. The Community Foundation of Greater Flint is asking for donations to their Flint Child Health and Development Fund that aims to support public health, medical, and community-based services.