When we turn on our faucets, we don’t stop to think that what’s coming out could harm us. We expect our water supply to be fit for consumption. That’s just 1st world living.
What’s happening in Flint, Michigan is a travesty and one that could have easily been avoided. It started because of a desire to save a few dollars in a financially strapped city, and now the decision to swap water sources and not treat the water properly is going to cost multiples more than what was going to be saved. That’s not even considering the costs to people suffering from lead poisoning and other medical issues.
Government seriously failed Flint. Not only did the government fail them, but the private sector did as well. Flint’s issues started when manufacturers took jobs away from the area. With fewer jobs available, the tax rolls suffer. Many people are playing the blame game, but the blame game doesn’t solve the problem at hand. There’s plenty of blame to pass around though.
The top of the pyramid is the governor of Michigan himself. It was his decision to put a manager in charge of Flint, overriding the wishes of the local voters. That financial manager made the decision to switch water systems to save a few dollars. The people responsible for ensuring the safety of the water failed the residents of Flint by not adding the necessary precautions to the water to avoid corrosion to the pipes. From what I’ve read, people noticed the difference almost immediately after the water source was switched in 2014, but this hasn’t become a major issue until late 2015 early 2016. In that time, how many lives have been permanently changed by the consumption and use of that tainted water?
If you think this is an isolated issue, then think again. I recall Atlanta having an issue with their water infrastructure because of old terra-cotta pipes still in use that were installed probably in the 18th century. When the stimulus plan was passed in 2009, there was lots of talk about repairing infrastructure. People focused on roads and bridges, but how many people mentioned the water and power grids? These systems have been in place for decades and likely at least a century in some places without upgrading.
It’s not the fault of one person but every single office holder that has decided to gamble with our lives. Nobody likes paying taxes. I get that. What happened in Flint is the result of trying to live in a Neiman Marcus country while paying Wal Mart prices to keep it up. At the rate we’re going, there will be many more Flints happening before something is done. I hope I’m wrong, but given the current desire to cut government spending, don’t look for some private company to take a major revenue loss to build newer and safer utility systems.