A CASE! Lead Poisoning in Michigan

What's Going ON?

Michigan is near some of the freshest bodies of water, which are the Great Lakes. In Flint, Michigan, however, they can't get this water. Two years ago, the state decided to save money by switching the water supply from Lake Huron, to the Flint River, which is notorious for its filth and disgust. As this is going on, there will be a new supply line to Lake Huron, which is a project that will take about two years.

Many citizens of Flint thought it was a complete joke when the state announced the switch, however, it went through, much to everyone's surprise.

Half of the service lines are made of lead, which makes the water, turn brown, as many people report. Some families have put lawsuits about this as well.

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

Rick Snyder is the Governor of the state, Michigan. He declared a state of emergency in December 2015, where he acknowledged a switch in April 2014 to the Flint River from Detroit's water source caused high lead levels. In November 2015, four families filed a federal class action lawsuit against Snyder.

"I want the Flint community to know how very sorry I am that this has happened. And I want all Michigan citizens to know that we will learn from this experience..." Snyder said.

He also added "I know many Flint citizens are angry and want more than an apology, that's why I'm taking the actions today to ensure a culture of openness and trust."

He also says that the state had allocated $10 million to test water, distribute water filters and help in other ways to help Flint.

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Effects of this Crisis

In addition to four families filing a federal class action lawsuit against Snyder, 99,000 people was placed under emergency financial management by Snyder.

Back in October, Flint switched back to Detroit water systems, but the city lead levels were still high, no matter what. Residents of Flint have reported of many serious health problems, which include respiratory disorders and skin lesions.

President Obama, declared that an emergency exists in the state of Michigan. He has ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts to the conditions of contaminated water. His actions authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. They have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the population, and provide assistance.

Dr. Marc Edwards

Dr. Marc Edwards is an engineering professor over at Virginia Tech. He leads a team, who went over to Flint to test the water. He and his team found the drinking water, "very corrosive, and is causing lead contamination in homes".

His published report also says: "This is creating a public health threat in some Flint homes that have lead pipe or lead solder."

Additionally, apparently 42% of 120 initial samples from Flint had lead levels that were more than 5 parts per billion, which is a huge problem.

His team are right now in the final stages of testing water from 300 sample kits.

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In this article, a video shows Snyder responds to questions at a press conference.

Lead In The Water In Flint, Michigan

What Now?

Well, in a battle between Snyder and the Flint residents, it has been heating up these past few months. Even after all this, Snyder admits he has no immediate plans to replace the lead pipes.

Snyder says, "There absolutely is a trust issue."

However, removing all the pipes is the only permanent solution to the problem, it just isn't on Snyder's "short term" agenda.

"It's a lot of work to take out pipes, to redo all of the infrastructure, that's a whole planning process." Snyder says at a recent press conference.

The state is right now focusing on using phosphates in the water to coat the corroded pipes to keep lead from leaching out. There is not firm price tag for replacing lead service lines (which would be a lot). More than 40% of households are below the poverty line. They don't have the money to do plumbing themselves.

There are right now, Union plumbers who are available, on a volunteer basis, are going door-to-door to install water filters.

There are just way too many problems with this, as up to 25,000 service lines containing lead that run between water mains and homes.