Featured Media Resource: VIDEO: Here's How Flint's Water Crisis Happened (CNN)
Hear a summary of the information available to the state regarding the Flint water crisis, the decisions they made and their responses to the public.
Do Now U
Will the water crisis in Flint, Michigan motivate government officials to respond more efficiently in the face of future health and environmental crises? #DoNowUFlint
How to Do Now
To respond to the Do Now U, you can comment below or post your response on Twitter. Just be sure to include #DoNowUFlint and @KQEDedspace in your posts.
Learn More about the Flint Water Crisis
It seems as though you can’t turn on the TV or surf the Internet without hearing about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. For a year and a half, residents of Flint were drinking water contaminated with lead—“a potent, know, irreversible neurotoxin,” says Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, which can cause learning disabilities in children. The crisis, now officially recognized as a state of emergency on a national level, has sparked interest in human rights organizations around the world.
It all began in 2014, when the City of Flint—where 40 percent of the residents live in poverty and a majority of the residents are black—in a cost-saving measure, switched their water supply from Detroit’s drinking water, sourced from Lake Huron, to the Flint River. Many sources mention a study in 2011 that found that he river water would need to be treated with anti-corrosive agents in order to make the water safe to drink, in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. The anti-corrosive agents were important because the pipes that had been in use in Flint for decades were old and contained lead. However, the Department of Environmental Quality decided not to add the anti-corrosives to the water. The day of the switch, April 25, 2014, Flint’s department of public works director Howard Croft stated in a press release, “The test results have shown that our water is not only safe, but of the high quality that Flint customers have come to expect. We are proud of the end result.” Once the corrosive water was flowing through the pipes, though, the damage was done. Residents complained of filthy drinking and bathing water, getting sick, and developing rashes, yet the government repeatedly assured them that everything was fine.