The US congress has passed funding to try and bring an end to the contaminated water crisis in Flint Michigan. Congress voted to supply the funding so that Flint can work to remedy the situation which for the last two years has caused a public health crisis in the town.
The issue began in 2014, when the water supply was changed from the Detroit river to the Flint river, which had not been rigorously checked for suitability, nor had any inhibitor been added to the river. The local department responsible, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality had failed in its responsibility to control corrosion treatments. This allowed lead to leach out of old service pipes and get in to the main water supply. Lead levels have been falling, but the supply was switched back to its original supply out of Detroit last year.
Flint has been working hard to restore confidence in the water system, it has instituted a plan to replace all lead service pipes, and make repairs to the water infrastructure that is desperately needed to get the water system back to a suitable level. Though tap water is still not safe to drink without first being filtered. It’s hoped that the stimulus package received as part of the overall reform will help Flint to make its repairs faster than first anticipated.
The vote has been welcomed in the town, as many locals have stated that the government has been too slow to react to the crisis. Indeed the news was relatively local until outgoing US President Barack Obama issued an emergency situation in Flint and instructed a team to go to Flint in order to take over and manage the situation. Some of the funding is likely to go to those who’s health has been impacted by the crisis. The true toll of which of course remains unknown. But blood tests on kids from the area have shown high levels of lead in their system. The crisis has also been linked to an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease which killed ten people and damaged a further 77.
The vote was passed as one of the last acts before government shuts down in the US in preparation for a change of President. As Donald Trump prepares to enter the white house in January.
Hopefully the people of Flint will get the water system that they deserve. Any punishments for the lack of care shown by the local departments are unknown, but many will seek the strictest punishments available for the recklessness which has damaged so many.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.