Flint, Michigan: Health Crisis and Human-Caused Disaster
We're getting a lot of emotive, overheated rhetoric on the Flint water disaster, and it's choking out the facts. This is a tragedy, a health crisis, and a horrible failure of government at all levels to carry out the elementary task of providing people safe drinking water.
This is the best unbiased summary I have read: The Real Tragedy in Flint
Here is what I have gleaned from the New York Times and other news outlets:
* The number of children with elevated lead levels is in the low 100's, but citizen expectation is--rightly--zero. Also, sadly, this number will certainly rise.
* Governor Snyder relied upon Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to provide him information. His major sin so far seems to be he believed a government bureaucracy over eye-witness testimony (which had no scientific basis, until a university and a doctor got involved and provided scientific evidence of what had happened).
* DEQ most likely did not supervise Flint Water Department's program adequately, and may have helped them cover up the problem.
* The Flint Water Department, having not treated drinking water in over 40 years, probably did not know what it was doing.
* The EPA was involved, but so far, it looks like simple negligence on their part. That river was already a back-up source of water, and it was not an untreatable polluted cesspool, but questions remain if levels of iron and other substances were too high due to lack of monitoring and treatment.
* The Snyder-appointed manager, along with the Democratic Mayor and Democratic city council devised and implemented the money-saving plan.
The Democrat State Treasurer made the official decision to throw the switch.
It's a sad state of affairs when this gets turned into a Hollywood anti-GOP propaganda piece, complete with (no kidding) the real Erin Brockovich and a heroic and telegenic doctor whose movie is already destined to be the next Hollywood environmental and racial tocsin.
Please go read this: The Real Tragedy in Flint
The author explains the technical details of how improperly treated water will leach lead from old lead pipes and water mains, and he also describes the chain of events that led to the fateful decision, which, if carried out competently, would not have poisoned anyone.
* - Muchas gracias to Ed Bonderenka for sending me the link to the article.