Though it didn’t have the media attention it does today, Flint, Michigan has been dealing with a water crisis since 2014. And, of course, Flint isn’t the only city in America, by a long shot, that has similar water issues. Many Americans worry about their drinking water, but even though Flint has probably gotten the most attention, the problem has still yet to be fixed.
Lead is continuing to contaminate the water to a high degree. In 2015, then EPA Manager Miguel Del Toral found that the lead in the water was seven times greater than what the EPA allows. When you go into public places in Flint, you see signs reminding you not to drink the water, and you see water fountains being blocked off. Restaurants use bottled water for their patrons, and for their cooking. And as Renata Richard said to AP: “When I see someone on TV just turn on the water and wash their hands — I haven’t been able to do that for years.”
A real kicker: A top EPA official says this never should have happened in the first place.
According to a report on MLive, Robert Kaplin, a Region 5 director for the EPA, said: “No reasonable plant operator would have given the go-ahead and in fact they didn’t. It was a mistake. It was rushed. It was hurried […] It shouldn’t have happened.”
Instead of it never happening, the poor folks in Flint have had to deal with this for nearly four years now.
Flint, Michigan already has a number of issues going against it. 40.1% of the people living in Flint live below the poverty line. This makes Flint the second most-poverty stricken city of its size in the United States.
So what’s being doing about it?
In March of this year, $97 million dollars of funding was approved to help bring the water crisis to its knees in Flint. However, replacing the lead-ridden pipes could take up to three-years time.
“Does this settlement agreement solve every problem Flint faces as a result of the water crisis? No, it doesn’t, we will still have lots to do to rebuild our city,” said Allen Overton, according to NPR. While it won’t fix all of the problems, now the city is committed to get these pipes out of the area and discontinue them altogether.
This is a step in the right direction, but there are many more steps to come.
It was also announced that Dr. Monna Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who found the lead in the Michigan water, will be marching for science on April 22nd.