One thousand, four hundred and forty-six days. As of Monday, the water crisis in Flint, Mich., has been going on for 1,446 days. There are still areas of the city that are testing high for lead levels, including the city’s public schools, but on Friday, the state decided it no longer needs to provide bottled-water-distribution services to the city’s residents.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced that it was ending the program because testing showed the city’s water quality had been below the federal action level for lead for two years, according to MLive.
There are four remaining water-distribution sites in the city, and they will remain open until their current water supply runs out—which state officials estimate could happen in as soon as a week.
In a press release, Gov. Rick Snyder said the following:
We have worked diligently to restore the water quality, and the scientific data now proves the water system is stable and the need for bottled water has ended.
For the past two years, I have repeatedly been asked when I would declare the water safe in Flint and I have always said that no arbitrary decision would be made—that we would let the science take us to that conclusion. Since Flint’s water is now well within the standards set by the federal government, we will now focus even more of our efforts on continuing with the health, education and economic development assistance needed to help move Flint forward.
The problem is, those tests do not take into account what can happen as the city’s galvanized and lead lines are replaced.
The Environmental Protection Agency has warned that there is a potential for lead to break free from water pipes during the heavy construction that is happening as the service lines are replaced.
All the state seems to be concerned about are tests that it has conducted in an attempt to prove that the water is “safe.”
But even with that testing and the supposedly improved water quality, it was reported last week that one elementary school in the Flint Community Schools system has continued to register high at multiple test sites—including three samples that registered at more than 100 parts per billion of lead, which is more than six times the federal action limit.
A school with a lead level of 100 ppb is something that should concern everyone. Children are the most vulnerable victims of this crisis.
It is not surprising, however, that the state is looking to do away with the program. It resisted delivering water to the residents of Flint, calling it an “unnecessary burden.”
Perhaps the state of Michigan considers the residents of Flint to be an unnecessary burden. The water problems in Flint started while the city was under state control, so the crisis could be considered entirely the state’s fault.
The state seems to want to just wash the lead off its hands and continue with business as usual while the city’s residents continue to suffer.
We are two weeks away from the four-year anniversary of the start of the water crisis.
The fact that bottled-water distribution is still an issue that is up for debate in this city is almost criminal.
Actually, it is criminal.
Pray for Flint. Someone has to care, because the state of Michigan obviously doesn’t.