Flint, Michigan has a crisis that needs immediate attention.
Youâ€™ve heard about the lead that has been leaching out of the pipes of the homes, schools and businesses in Flint.Â Let me summarize the facts, and then Iâ€™ll propose a solution.
- In April 2014, Flint chose to draw the cityâ€™s water from the Flint River as a cost-cutting maneuver, rather than continuing to use the Detroit water supply.
- The water from the Flint River was highly corrosive to the lead pipes found throughout the city of Flint and its homes, allowing the lead to be released into the tap water.
- After a year and a half, the city switched back to Detroit water after unsafe levels of lead were found in Flint children.
- Even though the corrosive Flint River water is no longer used, the lead from the pipes continues to seep into the drinking water. The pipes cannot be made safe.
- The amount of lead detected in Flint tap water is deadly. Some levels are so high, the water meets the EPA classification of â€œtoxic waste.â€
- Let me be clear about this â€“ the level of lead in the Flint water system is like deadly radiation. Itâ€™s beyond the level that one can ignore or take steps to work around.Â Hereâ€™s an article from the Washington PostÂ which illustrates the toxicity.
- There is no safe amount of lead exposure. Â It lowers a childâ€™s IQ and adversely affects nearly system in the body.Â The effects cannot be reversed and are lifelong.
- Water quality superstar Professor Marc Edwards (winner of a McArthur Genius grant for his work on our water infrastructure crisis in the U.S.) stated in an NPR interview, â€œThe damage that was done to Flintâ€™s children and to the pipes cannot be undone. The price tag to just replace the city-owned pipes completely would be $1.5 billion.â€Â He also noted that itâ€™s usually a 30-year process to replace an entire distribution system.
The situation is clear.Â Flint cannot be made safe in the foreseeable future, and we cannot expect Americans with this threat to their health and life.
The only solution is that Flint must be abandoned.