The Flint water crisis has been going on for so long now that critics of the local and state level response team have been criticizing officials on social media non-stop. But new revelations about the water treatment facility in Flint, Michigan reveal that not only will the water crisis continue, but it has been given an indefinite period of two years before it can be resolved.
According to a new report on CNN, the Flint water crisis has been raging for over three year and the lead contamination in the water has not been resolved, nor has it made any progress for its residents. To make matters worse, the people of Flint, Michigan have been told that the reason for their water being contaminated with high levels of lead was due to the city switching over from using Lake Huron water to using water from the Flint River.
— Michele Heyward (@MicheleHeyward) February 23, 2017
Therein lies the ultimate reason for the contamination. The water from the Flint River is 19 times more corrosive than that of Lake Huron and has caused lead from the aging pipes in Flint to contaminate the drinking water in Flint.
The apparent reason for switching over to water from Lake Huron to the Flint River was because officials wanted to save money, or as a cost-cutting initiative. But it appears as though that cost cutting initiative has essentially backfired and done the opposite for the City of Flint.
Mayor Karen Weaver of Flint, Michigan announced that they are constructing a new water treatment plant that will not be ready to go until August 2019. The Mayor cites the construction process as well as the testing process as the reasons for this delay.
“To expedite completion of the project and minimize cost, a design/build project delivery method is proposed,” Mayor Karen Weaver wrote to the EPA. “Based on this approach, an August, 2019, completion date is anticipated for the treatment plant improvements.”
In the meantime, the people of Flint have no other alternative for their drinking water than to buy clean bottled water as a substitute. They cannot simply switch back over to Lake Huron because the damage had already been done to the pipes of Flint, Michigan. The only real path forward after water treatment is to replace the aging pipes in Flint.
In 2016, the EPA had stepped in to take a closer look at how the City of Flint and the State of Michigan have been handling the water crisis. With direct oversight from the EPA, the local and state level response has still persisted in replacing old pipes in Flint as well as rerouting the water supply. But a lawsuit filed against the Department of Environmental Quality alleges that they did not treat the Flint River with an anti-corrosive agent that could have prevented the Flint water crisis in the beginning. Of course, this is what set the EPA into action to start with.
— Flint Water Crisis (@helpflint) March 2, 2017
The main action that the EPA oversight requires is that the city of Flint, Michigan keeps the federal government informed about all of their plans, which includes the current plans to manage their own drinking water by constructing a new treatment facility. That will not even be available to the people of Flint until August 2019.
The EPA has also mandated that residents from the City of Flint have input into what water source is to be used next when the facility is open and running. But this does not mean that the people vote on it, but rather that they have their voices heard by Flint city officials who will make the final decision.
It might also be notable to mention that since the intervention by the EPA, the lead levels in the water for Flint, Michigan have dropped below the federal level.
[Featured Image by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]