Before understanding the steps being taken to amend the crisis, one must first understand the causes and circumstances. The water supply for the city of Flint was switch from the Detroit city water inlet to the Flint River from April 25th, 2014 until October 16th, 2015. This switch was an effort to reduce costs for the municipal system while maintaining a constant water supply. However, during that period many levels of the Flint government either did not see, or intentionally disregarded clear evidence that the water from the Flint river was damaging to the city. This negligence has resulted in numerous deaths from Legionnaires’ disease as well as an increase in lead levels for many children in the area which can cause permanent neurological damage and hamper proper development.
While the situation looks grim, the good news is that the government of Flint has begun to implement new policies and remediation techniques to restore order after the devastating water crisis. A plan was released Monday that details the areas that the government intends to focus on including water infrastructure shortcoming, well being of children exposed to lead, Flint schools, and economic development. To address these areas, the government has proposed the following initial actions:
- Professional support from state health officials for children under 6 with high levels of lead
- Opening three additional health centers in the city
- Replacing drink water faucets and fixtures in public facilities
- Replacing lead service lines
- Training residents
It is difficult to fully measure the scope of the crisis in Michigan. It’s clear that many people got sick, but finding an accurate number of how many and the severity of their sickness is an incredibly difficult process. Additionally, many people who were exposed to lead will not show any symptoms and will not be reported as having high levels of lead unless they voluntarily get tested. It will be a very long process to rectify this situation, and we may see the effects of this crisis for eons to come.
For more information on remediation planms see the TeleSur article: Here
For a timeline of the Flint River crisis, visit the New York Times article: Here