Eckert: Crisis in Flint improving but irreversible

Student Mind

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has been going on for over a year. The residents are facing high levels of lead in their water supply. This is potentially dangerous not only for drinking purposes, but also for any other uses of water. With high levels of lead, it becomes dangerous to bathe and wash clothing. The dangers of lead can be are severe and extensive—it’s nothing to take lightly.

The dangers of consuming lead are some of the most worrying. The Environmental Protection Agency action level of lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion (ppb). Even this small amount of lead can be detrimental to your health. The major effects of lead consumption are hair loss, skin lesions, vision and memory loss and mental health problems.

None of these things are typically attributed to high levels of lead in the blood, but because of the water problems, further investigation found the water supply to be culprit. In children, who are also suffering from this hazardous situation, consuming lead can lead to developmental problems which include low IQ and learning disabilities. The city of Flint is going to need to make a lot of changes to prevent these problems in their residents.

The negative effects of lead on the human body aren’t the only problems Flint faces. The city is also stuck with the task of finding a new water supply that will help fix this problem. Currently the city receives its water from the Flint River. The water meets federal standards according to the Genesee County Board of Commissioners.

The problem with this water is that it’s too corrosive and is dissolving the lead solder on the old pipes which, in turn, leaks into the water supply and harms anyone who drinks, bathes or washes in it. The city has requested funding to switch back to their old water source, which is the Great Lakes Water Authority. The water crisis in Flint may be on its way to improving, but I doubt that many residents will be quick to return to their drinking water.

The future problems facing the city of Flint are high in number and also widespread. The city will need to improve mental health centers, school programs for learning-disabled children and also foster homes for children and teens affected by the water crisis.

This will be a huge task for the city and will take a lot of funding. Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, has already done a lot to help with the problem. Recently he went as far as declaring a state of emergency in Genesee County as well as requesting funding to switch Flint back to the Great Lakes Water Authority. In November, citizens filed a class action lawsuit against Snyder, the city of Flint, the state of Michigan, and other city and state offices and officials.

Flint’s problem of contaminated water has been going on for far too long. In today’s world, we shouldn’t be having water supply problems. With the technology and resources that are available, the city should be more than equipped to take on a problem like this.

Instead of fixing the problem, or hedging it and stopping it before it starts, the various governments and agencies forced thousands of people to switch to bottled water, which begins a whole new problem of where the bottles go.

This problem may be on its way to being fixed, but that won’t prevent the repercussions of a problem that can’t be reversed.

Brian Eckert is a first-year finance and economics double major.