The Flint Water Crisis began in 2013 when the city of Flint, Michigan, voted to end its water contract with Detroit. The Flint water crisis was born that day. Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint, immediately releasing $5 million in federal funds to assist in relief efforts and authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate the state and local response. The Flint, Michigan, water crisis is the result of years of ruthless policies that have disproportionately affected people of color. Flint is found to be in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act because of the level of total trihalomethanes, or TTHM, in the water. As a result, says Hanna-Attisha, “Our senator already has a bill for universal Headstart for Flint kids because we know the effects of lead on early education. Abstract Buy essay. In January 2015 the city informed residents that elevated levels of carcinogenic trihalomethanes had been detected in Flint’s water but insisted that it remained safe to drink. Within a week, however, Snyder had announced a $12 million plan to switch back to DWSD as Flint’s water supplier. For 50 years, Flint had purchased its water from Detroit, its neighbor 70 miles to south. Flint’s recent water crisis is a stinging reminder that the infrastructure we often take for granted has many vulnerabilities. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Lead exposure doesn’t just affect people for a month or a year, she emphasizes, but for decades—even generations. Flint’s water when it was safe. In June 2016, more than two years after the switch to Flint River water and eight months after the return to DWSD, the EPA announced that water in Flint was once again safe to drink, provided an NSF-approved filter was used to remove the remaining traces of lead. This can be done by using the water for showers, laundry, toilets, dishes, lawn and garden. The switch caused water distribution pipes to corrode and leach lead and other contaminants into municipal drinking water. The crisis in Flint is a result of a failure at all levels of government. Flint’s Water Crisis. Technol., Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04034. Do my homework. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Flint is known as the largest city in Genesee County, Michigan, United States. Snyder declared a state of emergency for Genesee county in January 2016 and activated the National Guard to assist with water distribution. Admission essay. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. It should be possible to add protective chemicals to Flint’s water, neutralize the problem chemicals in the river water and have safe water in a couple of months. He earned a B.A. ... Related Article. Michael Ray oversees coverage of European history and military affairs for Britannica. Flint, Michigan. What caused the Flint water crisis and what cities everywhere can learn from it, The top of a water tower is seen at the Flint Water Plant. In 2001, Washington, D.C. changed how it treated drinking water, and lead levels dramatically rose. The matter of blame appeared to be settled conclusively in March 2016, however, when Snyder’s nonpartisan task force released its blistering final report. Capstone project. What are the health risks for people using the water? We’re creating more slots for preschool, we have food hubs in a food desert and are giving out nutrition prescriptions in our clinic.” The city’s story is not over, and the people of Flint are making their voices heard. Experts noted that such a move would do nothing to address the damage already done to Flint’s water supply infrastructure by more than 18 months of corrosive water. Susan Masten. Flint’s water was found to have pH values between 7 and 8, which is not basic enough to prevent lead carbonate from dissolving. According to EPA standards, the official “action level” for lead in water is 15 ppb (parts per billion), indicating serious lead contamination. Photo Credit: Rebecca Cook © REUTERS/Newscom, Ten philanthropies will help Flint recover and rise from water crisis, Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, $125 million to the recovery efforts in Flint, Flint water crisis is about more than poisoned water, The crisis in Flint is about more than poisoned water. Get your first order at 15% off! For example, the administration of the city and water agencies in Flint kept giving the residents empty promises instead of taking initiative and investigating the real causes of water contamination. It highlights inequalities rooted in race and class, and tied to issues including education, healthcare, government accountability, and the environment. Share; Tweet Reddit Flipboard Email How lead poisoning harms children 01:39. Even after the water supply was reconnected to DWSD on October 16, officials advised against drinking Flint water. By Arthur Delaney and Philip Lewis. The U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee convened a series of hearings in February to investigate the debacle in Flint. Our ENL Writers can help. He was a teacher in the Chicago suburbs and Seoul,... A bottle of water taken from Flint's contaminated municipal supply, held by a protester outside Michigan Gov. In a community already struggling with poverty, crime, and a lack of resources, lead poisoning exacerbates existing burdens. How The Flint Water Crisis Caused Serious Unseen Harm To Communities Of Color At the core of this catastrophe was not the erosion of pipes or the adulteration of the water. The video is a clip from Fahrenheit 11/9, a documentary produced by Michael Moore, and shows scenes from a 2016 speech Obama gave in Flint. On January 16 U.S. Pres. The DWSD offered to reconnect Flint to its system, but Flint’s emergency manager declined, and internal communciations within Snyder’s administration revealed that cost remained the primary decision driver as public health concerns began to mount. After the switch, residents complained about the … Residents like Walters spoke out, bringing bottles of discolored water from their homes to city meetings. Human action has triggered a vast cascade of environmental problems that now threaten the continued ability of both natural and human systems to flourish. Corrections? Write my essay. The iron that was released from the corroding pipes reacted w… During the crisis, scientists, doctors, activists, and journalists worked together with local families to highlight the water contamination and related issues. But officials dismissed their concerns. There is no acceptable level of lead: any amount is considered toxic. As Flint, Mich., prepares to host a Democratic presidential debate on March 6, the candidates are talking about the city’s tainted-water crisis. Although it was once a thriving industrial centre, the city of Flint in souteastern Michigan struggled economically following the closing of several General Motors automobile manufacturing plants in the 1980s and ’90s. “Cost-cutting decisions like those made in Flint to switch to a cheaper water source [happen] partly because of Wall Street, and the outcome is then the criminal poisoning of communities.”. The result has been catastrophic to the community. Flint water crisis. As early as April 2015 EPA regional manager Miguel Del Toral had expressed his concerns about the absence of any corrosion control measures in Flint’s water treatment process, but Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) insisted that no additional steps were necessary to mitigate the levels of lead and copper in Flint’s water. Health and Science How one economic decision in Flint caused a health crisis. https://www.britannica.com/event/Flint-water-crisis, Natural Resources Defense Council - Flint Water Crisis: Everything You Need to Know, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dayne Walling, the mayor, said, taking a gulp of river water. The following is a sequence of events related to the Flint water crisis. Rick Snyder (R) admits that his government caused the Flint water crisis, he told Congress on Thursday morning it's something that could happen anywhere that has lead pipes. We also need to analyze the incentives within those institutions that led officials to repeatedly ignore the concerns of Flint residents, and consider how we can transform government to be more transparent and accountable. REVEALED: Flint's deadly water crisis which claimed 10 lives was caused by lead pipes with holes like SWISS CHEESE. WASHINGTON -- Though Michigan Gov. Over the following months, residents were twice advised to boil water because of the presence of dangerous levels of bacteria, and General Motors announced that the use of Flint River water at its plant was causing corrosion on newly machined engine parts. First you have to understand how Flint got its water before the crisis. Most of America knows the Flint water crisis of the last four years has become quite the epidemic and the more we learn the worse things seem to become. For two years, the locals have been continuously subjected to the ill effects of poisonous waters stemming from a recent change over in supply. On April 16, 2014, the Flint Water Service Center (FWSC) switched from distributing drinking water from Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) to treating water at their own facility in Flint. Flint Michigan’s water crisis is a national crisis of eroding proportion. The conclusions drawn of those hearings largely broke down along political lines, with House Democrats finding fault with Snyder—a Republican—and House Republicans criticizing the EPA for its failure to intervene in a timely manner. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Debates 2020. By October 2014, General Motors had stopped using Flint’s municipal water out of concern that it corroded sensitive engine parts. Doctors explain the long-term health effects of Flint water crisis. For 50 years, Flint had purchased its water from Detroit, its neighbor 70 miles to south. On April 25, 2014, the City of Flint, Michigan changed their municipal water supply source from the Detroit-supplied Lake Huron water to the Flint River. While residents of this predominantly low-income community lived with a contaminated water supply, their concerns and protests were repeatedly dismissed by state government officials.After Curt Guyette and other journalists drew attention to the situation, businesses, organizations, and government stepped in to help. Each house will have to have a flow to recoat the pipes. Flint water crisis, public health crisis (April 2014–June 2016) involving the municipal water supply system of Flint, Michigan, which resulted in residents being exposed to dangerous levels of lead. The water crisis in Flint Michigan is of epidemic proportions. Omissions? began in 2014 when the drinking water source for the city of Flint, Michigan was changed to the Flint River. Rebecca Cook / Reuters Over the summer, people in Flint, Michigan, discovered they had been drinking tap water with dangerously high levels of lead, a neurotoxin that can cause miscarriages and damage children's developing brains. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Indisposable: Structures of Support After the ADA, Nicole Okai, This includes fighting to remove the emergency manager laws in many states. 2016. Those managers, who reported directly to the Michigan state treasury department and not the citizens of Flint, decided to switch the city’s water supply from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to the Flint River as a cost-savings measure. What caused the Flint Michigan water crisis? In 2017, many of the firms listed above filed a complaint against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on behalf of individuals who lodged administrative complaints against the EPA. If the "dumb and dangerous" … The health and welfare of Flint families lay in the hands of an unaccountable city government that resisted addressing the crisis until it was brought to national attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stressed that there was no “safe” level for lead exposure and that the consquences of lead poisoning were lifelong and often debilitating. Technol., Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04034. In September 2015 Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor of environmental engineering and an expert on municipal water systems, determined that the corrosiveness of insufficiently treated Flint River water was causing lead to be leached from aging pipes, and doctors at a Flint hospital told residents not to drink city water after blood tests of area children revealed high levels of lead. Jan. 2, 2015: Disinfection Byproducts Detected. Solving the critical environmental problems of global warming, water scarcity, pollution, and biodiversity loss are perhaps the greatest challenges of the 21st century. In September 2015 Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor of environmental engineering and an expert on municipal water systems, determined that the corrosiveness of insufficiently treated Flint River water was causing lead to be leached from aging pipes, and doctors at a Flint hospital told residents not to drink city water after blood tests of area children revealed high levels of lead. But it was just the beginning of the city’s devastating water crisis. Doctors explain the long-term health effects of Flint water crisis. Little has been said about the cause of the Flint River pollution itself; the river was polluted by … In 2002 Michigan Gov. In late October Snyder announced the creation of an independent task force to review the events leading up to the crisis. In this session, public health advocate and author of “What the Eyes Don’t See,” Monna Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP, will discuss the implications the Flint water crisis has had on diverse and underserved children. During the speech, Obama criticized the mistakes that were made that led to the crisis in the first place and praised both the government and volunteer response to the water crisis, saying that the responders on the ground had, among other … Dr. Hanna-Attisha, a leading pediatrician and clinician at Hurley Medical Center, was one of the first to test and discover high levels of lead in Flint’s water. What was the underlying cause of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan? Follow the timeline of where it all started and know where the situation is at present. More information: Flint Water Crisis Caused By Interrupted Corrosion Control: Investigating "Ground Zero" Home, Environ.Sci. The Flint Water Crisis - What Caused It? The state of Michigan didn't bungle this by itself. Due to insufficient water treatment, over 100,000 residents were potentially exposed to high levels of lead in the drinking water. 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