It’s been about five months since the state of Michigan switched the drinking water of the city of Flint back to the Great Lakes.
Five months later and the residents of Flint, MI still aren’t able to drink the water that comes out of their taps.
Five months later and not a single lead service line has been replaced in Flint, until now.
According to CNN, despite testing that has shown that water lead levels have dropped in many Flint homes, there are still over 600 homes where the water tested well above the EPA’s action level for lead.
Homes like that of Fortina Harris. Harris has trained his two young grandsons never to touch the water.
“You can’t trust the government. Their trust gone down the Flint River,” said Harris, reviewing his water test results.
So what is the problem? Yes, the water source has been changed back to a cleaner source but the problem still remains. When the water was switched to the Flint River, the state didn’t properly treat the water. This water caused the pipes to corrode, leaching lead and heavy metals into the drinking water supply.
This means that even after the water was switched back, the damaged pipes are still contaminating the water running through them, tainting the water with lead and other heavy metals. This water, that can cause stunted childhood development and affect nearly every part of the body, is still coming out of taps in some areas.
As recent as February 6th of this year, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality tested Rosemary Vernon’s (a resident of Flint) water. The results showed her water had more than 10,000 parts per billion lead. The EPA says anything over 15 ppb is considered unsafe.
“Oh my god, I was just stunned,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that.”
Levels that high are twice the threshold the EPA considers toxic waste.
The test results reinforce the belief among residents, that the water — no matter what government officials say — will not be safe until the lead service lines are replaced.
Flint’s Mayor, Karen Weaver, has asked the state for $55 million to begin replacing about 8,000 lead service lines that she believes exist in Flint.
Another big part of the problem is that because of poor record-keeping, Flint city officials aren’t sure how many homes are affected by these lines. Moreover, they don’t know which homes are affected.
The state of Michigan has pledged $58 million to help Flint. None of that money, however, is for the replacement of lead service lines. The governor proposed $25 million for infrastructure in his budget proposal but that money won’t likely be available until October at the earliest.
Want to help the people of Flint? The following is a list of organizations that are actively working to make things easier for residents of Flint. If you know more, please list them in the comments below: