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Citizens Suffer in Flint Water Crisis

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Citizens Suffer in Flint Water Crisis

Akhila Reddy

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In a small town in Michigan, a community of 100,000 largely poor, minority residents are unable to access clean water, a situation largely caused by government corruption and bureaucratic mismanagement. So how did this happen?

Back before this contamination was a problem, Flint purchased water from Detroit which was clean and led to no problems. In 2014, Flint switched from this water to cheaper water from the Flint River, water which had 8 times as much chloride in it. The city never used corrosion control to prevent lead from entering the water. As science would predict, the water slowly wore away the lead pipes, allowing lead to enter the water stream.

The residents were immediately able to discern the difference as their water turned a murky, yellow-brown color. In October 2015, the city switched back to Detroit water, but by then the damage had already been done.

Water from the Flint River, versus water from Detroit

State and local officials made every attempt possible to cover this crisis up, publicly claiming that they had followed all the necessary rules, and that the water was, in fact, safe to use. The governor at one point even appeared on television drinking the water, claiming it was safe for consumption and use.

On June 24, a report was put out by EPA scientist Miguel de Toron detailing the high lead levels that could found in Flint residential homes, but the report was not released until November, with many of his worst concerns ignored or edited out. It revealed that the state had no corrosion control in place, and that it instructed citizens to run the tap for five minutes before taking water samples, deliberately minimizing the findings of lead. This report was buried, getting lost in bureaucracy when heads of the department refused to widely acknowledge the findings of the document.

The number of kids with lead poisoning in Flint doubled after the switch, and even tripled in some places. Lead can have especially serious, potentially fatal effects, on young children, many of who where exposed to this water by unknowing parents who decided to trust the government.

” I can’t believe this situation happened under the government” says Georgetown Senior Ava Antolick. “It makes me afraid of what other stuff could happen”.

This incident is now drawing national attention and criticism. President Obama just declared Flint to be in a State of emergency. Currently, residents are drinking and using water only out of bottled water bottles provided by the government.

The situation leaves Flint residents, and many more residents across America wondering if they can truly trust their government.

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Citizens Suffer in Flint Water Crisis