Flint, MI experienced one of the worst public health crises the United States has ever faced and continues to experience this crisis to this day. About four years ago, the city of Flint began to get its water from the Flint River instead of using the water that came from Detroit. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of what has been a long, arduous problem that still has no solution.
Initially, the citizens of Flint were told that the switch to water coming from the Flint River was only temporary. The city was simply waiting to switch to a new regional source of water instead of using the water that the city of Detroit provided. Almost immediately, citizens of Flint noticed a noxious smell to the water and complaints were made about the taste and appearance of the water as well. Nearly a year after that, Detroit offered to reconnect the city of Flint to their water and the city of Flint insisted that they were fine with their then water system set-up. Several months later, in September of 2015, doctors began to tell the city of Flint to stop using the Flint River water for drinking water because they were finding that children were testing with high levels of lead in their blood. Now, state regulators stated that the water was safe and that there was no need to revert to the old system. Several days after the doctors first began to tell the city of Flint to stop using the Flint River, Governor Rick Snyder promise to respond and take action in regards to the high lead levels. Six months later, in January of 2016, Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency.
It took the city of Flint and the state of Michigan nearly two years to find that there was cause for alarm with the water source pouring into Flint. By that time, there was a rise in cases of Legionnaires’ disease and some of those cases ended up being fatal. The question that begs to be answered is why did the state of Michigan allow this to go on for so long? What was originally stated to be a temporary switch before going to a permanent system turned into a health crisis for the sake of saving money.
The city of Flint wanted to save money by sourcing their water from the Flint River. In doing so, they harmed innocent citizens and created one of the biggest public health crises in United States history. How is that fair to the citizens of Flint? What about the children that had high levels of lead in their blood or became ill with Legionnaires’ disease? Sadly, the fight to get clean water back into Flint is far from over.