Many of us may have heard about the current Flint Water Crisis. In a developed country where access to water is easily attainable, it is hard, and frankly puzzling, to grasp that such a public health emergency can happen here in the United States. The Flint Water Crisis began back in April 2014 when city officials changed its water source from Detroit River to the Flint River. The ultimate downfall with this change is that government officials failed to apply the appropriate corrosion control treatment to the Flint River causing the water to be contaminated with lead. The lead poisoning has affected more than 8,000 children and President Barack Obama declared this crisis a federal state of emergency.
Although, Flint Michigan is not the only city within the United States that has suffered from similar lead contaminations. Many cities in America have gone through periods of water insecurity due to lead contamination. Jackson, St. John, Denver, Phoenix, San Diego are a few cities having lead contamination issues with their water. The root of the problem is the infrastructure of the water pipes. Lead was used for centuries in plumbing due to its resistance to pinhole leaks common in other forms of metal. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the health risks to lead was widely-known and initiated the beginning of a decade long effort to eliminate is from the water supply.
To combat these growing issues, city officials and local governments need to look towards more sustainable materials that will efficiently transport water into city and also be safe for human consumption. The Flint Water Crisis is bringing awareness to the problems within city water systems, the need for more sustainable and safe solutions, and how quickly water insecurity can occur. Take the time to learn more about your city’s water supply and systems. If you would like to help Flint resident in their time of need, visit the Flint Water Fund to donate.