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The Reflection

Flint, Michigan hit with water source controversy

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Finding access to clean water is a global problem, but people rarely think this problem would happen to them. The residents of the city of Flint, one of the most poverty stricken and dangerous cities in Michigan, have been dealing with this problem firsthand as their tap water source has left residents with toxic drinking water in their homes.

The Flint River's water is unsafe for drinking, and was not treated for corrosivness by the state government. Photo courtesy of wikimedia.

The Flint River’s water is unsafe for drinking, and was not treated for corrosiveness by the state government. Photo courtesy of wikimedia.

Two years ago, the state of Michigan switched Flint’s water source from pretreated Lake Huron water to water from the Flint River in attempt to cut costs. But according to CNN, the water from the river is 19 time more corrosive than Detroit’s source of water, Lake Huron. This is what caused lead pipes and service lines bringing water to Flint homes to corrode, infecting the water with lead. The Flint water mains are also made of iron, making the water turn brown.

For almost a year, state and city officials have denied anything was wrong with the water, until October 2015 when the city switched back to Detroit’s water source. Because the water from the river was never treated to be less corrosive, with no justification from government officials, switching back to Detroit’s water source doesn’t provide a solution to this problem.  The pipes are already damaged and will only continue to leech lead into whatever water is flowing through them.

 The lead levels in the blood of Flint children doubled and even tripled since the water source switch,

After recieving plenty of criticism and calls of resignation, Governor Rick Synder finally calls a stae of emergency of Janurary 5th. Photo courtesy of wikimedia.

After receiving plenty of criticism and calls of resignation, Governor Rick Synder finally calls a state of emergency of January 5th. Photo courtesy of wikimedia.

according to Flint pediatrician at Hurley Children’s Hospital, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who found the rise of lead levels and was interviewed by CNN. Any lead that gets into the body system is very harmful, causing hair, vision and memory loss as well as skin lesions. There was reports of a dramatic increase of Legionnaires disease, with 87 cases and 10 deaths.

Now the National Guard is distributing water filters and water bottles to Flint residents in need, almost two years after this whole tragedy started. The state being so late in response to the crisis is what is the most controversial and is what angers Michigan residents the most.

An infograph containing key information regarding the Flint Water Crisis.

An infograph containing key information regarding the Flint Water Crisis. Infographic by Sierra Veenkant. Information from Greg Botehlo and Sarah Jorgesen, also Ralph Ellis and Sara Gamin at CNN.

Governor Rick Snyder has received a great deal of criticism, as well as calls for his resignation. But Snyder is defending his claims and taking responsibility, claiming that he took action as soon as he saw the lead levels in the blood rising. Yet until January 5, 2016, Governor Snyder hadn’t declared a state of emergency for the water that they had tested and proved to be unsafe.


Sierra Veenkant
About

I'm Sierra Veenkant, I am in 11th grade and this is my first year on the newspaper staff. I am a competitive dancer and dedicate a lot of my time to that. I write the beat reports on the Enviornmental Club for the newspaper and enjoy writing other articles relating to the arts.

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