Flint, Michigan: Water Crisis

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In August 14, 2014 Flint, Michigan announced the first appearance of coliform bacteria in the water used by the residents on the west side of Flint. According to the New York State Department of Health, coliform bacteria doesn’t lead to serious illness, however, there are some rare strains of E.coli that, when mixed with coliform bacteria, can result in fatal illnesses. On the West side of Flint, the first ‘boil water’ advisory was announced and was lifted by August 20, 2014, but later the ‘boil water’ advisory was then reinforced again by September 5, 2014.  

One year after the initial announcement of the coliform bacteria, people are still affected by the contaminants. The coliform bacteria has been the cause for some of the resident’s illnesses which were reported to be Shigellosis, Legionnaire, Anemia, Kidney Failure, and many other infections. Shigellosis averagely affects 20 people each year, in Flint 76 people were diagnosed of Shigellosis as of 2015.  

As of February 26, 2015 they found lead also in the water. On September 24, 2015 a research led by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha from the Hurley Medical Center released a study of children with elevated lead levels in their blood nearly doubled after the city switched its water source. In the most severe parts of Flint with the most contamination the numbers tripled (CNN 2017). Lead can affect the brain development, nervous system, high blood pressure, and kidney damage at any age but can be most deadly when it’s a minor.  

Recently there has been more action towards the lead tainted pipes the mayor of Flint Karen Weaver reported that there‘s 20,000 lead tainted pipes that need to be replaced but she hopes that 6,000 pipes will be replaced by the end of this year with the help of the State and Federal Government.  

“March 17, 2017 the EPA announces that it has awarded $100 million to Flint for drinking water infrastructure upgrades” (NBC 2017). Flint's water conditions were terrible however many people are able to install water filters thanks to the nonprofit groups that have been helping the residents of Flint and they are now able to use the water to some extent. The water crisis sadly hasn’t come to an end even with everyone's efforts.