the flint, mich. water crisis is a lot less involved than the oregon standoff, and could really be boiled down to one word: infrastructure.
but first, a brief explanation of what exactly’s happening.
the current infrastructure in flint was built in 1952 using lead pipes, as was common in those days. lead is cheap and easy to work with, so all the water mains and the service lines to homes were made from lead, which can leach into the water. the ok thing with this is that over time, the water itself creates a protective oxide and phosphate coating. in 1967, the city stopped treating its own water and used water that was piped in from detroit. this went on until 2014, after a weird water-source war led the city to get its water from the flint river and treat it.
bad news here. turns out the water in the flint river has a lower pH and higher salinity, which caused that protective coating in the pipes to corrode away and expose the lead, letting it leach into the water once again.
people started complaining about bad water in early 2015, and the city pretty much ignored them. a doctor in flint found high levels of blood lead in the children in flint. meanwhile, the michigan dept. of environmental quality kept saying the water was safe. flint officials filed papers showing that they tested the water in the plant and in homes it was fine. surprise surprise: they never actually tested tap water from homes that had lead service lines. the city doesn’t even know where these homes are!
on a local level, on dec. 15 the mayor issues a citywide state of emergency to get additional state and federal funding for the repercussions of the high lead levels. work crews started to deliver bottled water, filters and cartridges, especially to homes built in the early 1900s. they also encouraged homeowners to pick up a water testing kit.
on a state level, the governor declared a state of emergency on jan. 5, and on jan. 9, FEMA sent two officers to monitor the situation. on jan. 15, they adviced pres. obama to grant a federal disaster, and he did, which gives flint up to $5 million.
the estimates of fixing the infrastructure in flint is millions of dollars, up to $1.5 billion, and could take up to 15 years to replace. now there are other cities coming forward with the same problems and the same aging infrastructure.
this brings up one question: why aren’t we investing in our own cities, towns, people? a lot of america’s infrastructure is aging, crumbling, getting to the point of unusable. this isn’t just lead water pipes. this is roads, electricity, bridges (think I-35 bridge), etc. our country keeps getting bigger and bigger, and our infrastructure is getting more and more pressure on it. at some point, it’s going to break and not be useful any more.
weirdly enough, this is the kind of socialist welfare that almost every person can get behind. unfortunately, we don’t want to spend a lot of money on it, so we’d rather send our money to build aircraft carriers and fund wars overseas than to focus on what’s happening right here on our own soil. war on terror? how about a war on potholes and unsafe bridges? a war on aging lead watermains? a war on sick children because we can’t get enough money to update something after it’s a known cause of medical problems? how about preventing instead of treating? an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – true story.
this screenshot is really the saddest part of this whole narrative. we need to set up gofundme sites for people to donate money to flint residents rather than the city or state taking care of its people – so much for by the people for the people.
instead of people’s taxes going to real problems they see in their everyday lives, the money’s being used for wars in places they’ve never been, big business subsidies they never see, big agriculture subsidies to get them bad food, bailing out banks that mishandled their money to begin with, and overseas friends who don’t return the favor.
trickle down? well, flint’s water did. and look what happened there.