In 2014, the state of Michigan decided to try and save some money by switching receiving water from the Lake Huron (which they were paying the city of Detroit for), to the Flint River, a notorious tributary that runs through town known to locals for contamination. The Flint river is known to be highly and soon after the switch, the residents began to notice that the water had The water supply in Flint was contaminated with extremely high levels of lead and other contaminates. The citizen filed a class action lawsuit that the state Department of Environmental Quality wasn’t treating the Flint River water with an anti-corrosive agent, in violation of federal law. Therefore, the water was eroding the iron water mains, turning water brown.
Increased lead screenings for the city’s residents was implemented to monitor the growing number of children with elevated levels of lead in their blood. Increased testing of the water and the distribution system was also implemented. This allowed city officials to keep track of the lead levels in the water and provide public information as needed. Increased research in the effects of lead in children to better understand the possible outcomes. Free water bottles were given to the residents of Flint to ensure that safe drinking water was provided to everyone decreasing the chance of lead poisoning or the other negative effects that followed from drinking improperly treated water.
Free water filters were also provided to ensure homes were able to have clean running water for cooking. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided $500,000 to two local health centers to combat any health issues the Flint population may face. The children who were affected by the improperly treated water will continue to be monitored to determine if they will develop any long term health issues. The political system is the reason the problem stared in the first place when they decided to switch water providers from DWSD to KWA, because it was more cost efficient, before KWA was completely ready to supply the city’s water.
As a result of their political negligence, many residents have decided to take legal action against the city and the government to collect some type of compensation for the illnesses that were forced upon them. Since the population of Flint is mostly low income families, the situation was not taken as serious as it should have been. Government officials neglected to take into account the lead pipes that were used to distribute potable water throughout the city and failed to treat the water properly. The situation was only taken seriously after a number of children began to develop rashes and other symptoms due to the high levels of lead in their bloodstreams. If this situation occurred in a population with a different epidemiologic profile it may have been dealt with a lot faster and hundreds or thousands of people could have potentially died due to an already compromised immune system.