According to Virginia Tech University researchers, a large part of the problem with Flint’s drinking water is the corrosiveness of the water in the Flint River. The researchers have determined that the water is 19 times more corrosive to lead solder used in pipes than Detroit’s water which was Flint’s previous supply.
To lessen the corrosiveness, cities use a common chemical called orthophosphate. However, researchers say, that even after adding orthophosphate, Flint’s water would still be 16 times more corrosive than Detroit’s.
Virginia Tech researchers have been testing samples collected from hundreds of Flint homes. They have found “serious” levels of lead in almost one in five. The researchers have urged some homeowners to stop drinking their tap water entirely.
They say their test results show the city should resume the practice of getting drinking water from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department. Flint shut off its water pipeline to Detroit last year. The Flint River is a temporary water source until a new pipeline from Lake Huron is completed sometime next year.
City and state officials have taken issue with the Virginia Tech findings. They insist their own testing has not shown similar results.
The water issue in Flint have made national headlines. Even environmental activist Erin Brockovich has weighed in on the issue.
Brockovish took to Facebook and responded to a photo of brown water gushing from a hydrant in Flint. In her comment, she noted how serious a part environmental issues play in our lives. She said that this is an example of “how bad it can get.” The water discoloration was caused when maintenance crews replaced two valves in the area, according to Howard Croft, Director of Flint Department of Public Works.
The work required crews to shut off the water, which caused a backup of dirty water, and a need for extensive hydrant flushing. The dirty water came from sediment buildup that occurred due to the broken valves. Crews have been working for four months to identify and replace the broken valves, a number of which had been broken for quite some time. Brockovich took a moment to point out that hours of brown running water is more than simple hydrant flushing, but that it is an indication of the poor water quality in Flint.
Brokovich also stated that “This highly corrosive water is causing serious (lead) and copper leaching throughout the community and is in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.” Flint recently resolved other violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, but now potentially faces new violations.
Brokovich met with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) to discuss concerns about the city’s drinking water issues.
Residents of Flint, MI are feeling the sacrifice the city officials made to save money until the Karegnondo Water Authority pipeline is completed. The water from the Flint River has tested positive for fecal coliform bacteria. In response, Flint city engineers increased the amount of chlorine in the water. This, however, has caused high levels of trihalomethanes, creating a possible violation of the Clean Water Act.
The water was also found to have lead contents of 13,000 parts per billion, which far exceeds the EPA’s suggestion of under 15 parts per billion. These high levels of trihalomethanes and lead have rendered the water unsafe to drink.
This pipeline issue is not unique to Flint, Michigan, however. According to the American Society for Civil Engineers, many of the nation’s pipeline are heading in the same direction. Soon, the nation will have to invest its time and resources into making improvements to existing pipelines, and/or creating brand new ones. The cost of such an endeavor could potentially reach up to $1 trillion.
The new water pipeline that will service the city of Flint Michigan, set to be completed in 2016, will bring water from Flint’s previous provider: Lake Huron. It will be a welcome change from the need to treat water from the Flint River, which has been littered with everything from dead bodies to an abandoned car.
The pipeline system in Flint is aging and as a result, residents are faced with a situation where they have to consume and bathe in water with high levels of copper, lead and E. coli. This unfortunate situation has lead the city to turn to the Flint River as a source of clean water, despite having some issues of its own.
The price of water supplied to Flint by Detroit has steadily become a greater and greater financial burden to the city. While it is imperative that the city maintain a source of clean water for its citizens, the cost has skyrocketed by 73% in just 9 years.
The city is struggling to appropriate the necessary funds toward building up the its water-piping infrastructure. To help alleviate the problem, Genesee County is currently building a pipeline in conjunction with other Michigan counties that will connect Lake Huron to mid-Michigan. The pipeline being created by Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline is scheduled to be complete in a year’s time. In the meantime, the city has decided to allocate $2.8 million toward the treatment of water from the Flint River. This cost is significantly less than the $12 million that the city would otherwise have to pay Detroit.
Officers cite rising crime, declining morale under Walling Administration
FLINT, Mich. (September 28, 2015) – The Flint Police Officers Association (FPOA) has endorsed Karen Weaver for Mayor of Flint. FPOA’s executive board voted unanimously to endorse Weaver.
Chief among the board’s decision making was the stark contrast between Walling’s broken relationship with the police department and Weaver’s desire to work with the department towards reducing crime and improving officer safety. Kevin Smith, president of FPOA and a 16 year veteran of the department, stated “I have seen plenty of mayoral administrations come and go. The Walling administration is dysfunctional”.
The board cited the following as examples of Walling’s failed leadership:
_ Flint has consistently been at the top of the FBI’s most violent cities list under Walling.
_ In 2011, Walling strangely blamed public safety employees for arsons that were later attributed to criminals that were not city public safety employees.
_ Walling’s $5.3 million police millage, designed to hire many more police officers to fight crime, misled the public and only resulted in a net gain of three officers several months after passage.
_ Walling refused to consider cost-cutting recommendations from FPOA and failed to negotiate in good faith – in part by appointing a personnel director with a past criminal record, resulting in mass layoffs.
_ Walling refused to change FPD leadership, despite rising crime and a vote of no confidence in Chief Lock by 85% of officers.
While all of these situations are troubling, one of the biggest concerns to officers is Walling’s belief that laying off police officers has no impact on crime. Of this, Smith says, “While Mr. Walling has made it known that he has many degrees, he doesn’t understand what is obvious to citizens – laying off police officers DOES have an impact on crime-it increases crime. You just don’t ask the citizens to approve a 5.3 million police millage to hire more police officers, and the citizens approve it, and then only hire three more officers. He duped the public. ”
Despite Walling attributing many of the city’s problems to emergency managers, Smith reminds voters that Dayne Walling supported the takeover before he was against it: “Just like flipping the switch on Flint’s hazardous water source, Walling flipped the switch on crime by laying off 57 police officers just months into his first term – despite double digit concession offers by the police officers.”
Smith continued, “FPOA is backing Karen Weaver because of her commitment to making Flint safe again, through cooperation and communication with the officers patrolling the streets. We believe Karen Weaver will be there with us preventing and fighting crime every day. Our city desperately needs a Mayor who will do this, and Weaver clearly is the best person and candidate we want with us in the trenches.”
Upon learning of the FPOA’s endorsement of her for Mayor, Weaver responded: “I highly respect, appreciate, and am thankful for the FPOA endorsement, and look forward to working daily with our police officers to prevent and attack crime in our city.”
About FPOA: The Flint Police Officers Association represents the police officers of the City of Flint.
FLINT (WJRT) - (09/30/15) – Governor Rick Snyder is talking Flint water in Lansing, but still one big question remains – will Flint switch back to the Detroit water system?
The move has been gaining momentum in Flint and Lansing.
Wednesday, Snyder was asked about the Flint water crisis at a press conference for the newly-appointed Michigan Supreme Court Justice.
He told reporters that he’s working with city, state and federal leaders to come up with a plan to get better quality water flowing to the people of Flint – faster.
Whether or not that means switching to the Detroit water system from the Flint River is still a mystery.
“It appears that lead levels could be higher, or have increased. What can be done to deal with that in an effective fashion. Again, were looking at making sure they’re within safe limits according to the Federal Government, and I would expect us to have more to talk about this subject before the end of the week,” Snyder said.
ABC12 News learned this week that Snyder had a hand in distributing 1,500 water filters to Flint homes about a month ago.
He confirmed that at least part of the state’s future involvement in the crisis will include bringing more of those filters to the people of Flint.
FLINT (WJRT) - (09/30/15) – A church congregation 130 miles away from Flint was touched when it heard about Flint’s water worries.
Members of the First Congregational Church in downtown Kalamazoo heard about the problem with lead in the Flint water and wanted to help. So they passed around the offering plate and then went shopping for water.
A van and a crossover arrived jammed with 4,500 bottles of water, enough for nearly every student in the Flint Community Schools.
“I think that’s terrible, in the school of all places, where you expect kids to be safe, and lead is nasty stuff. That’s something we can’t have kids exposed to,” said Rev. Nathan Dannison, of the First Congregational Church of Kalamazoo.
The water was left at the administration building loading dock, where it will be divided up and sent to every Flint school. The church hopes to return with more water and water filters.
“We tend to put feet to our faith as soon as possible, so we trust that God’s going to come through for us and make sure we raise the resources we need to continue bringing fresh water,” Dannison said.
“We really appreciate the community wrapping its arms around our schools and helping us provide safe drinking water for all of our students. This will assure them that they’re getting clean drinking water for their learning and education,” said Tony Sitko, Flint Community Schools director of shared services.
“We all have to pull together and do what we can,” Dannison said.
If you want to donate bottled water, you can leave it at neighborhood Flint schools from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.
There’s a high demand for bottled water at the high schools because of after-school programs and athletics.
Cashier’s checks and money orders made out to Flint Community Schools are also accepted.
More than 13,000 bottles of water have already been donated.
FLINT (WJRT) - (09/30/15) – Senior citizens in Flint are just as concerned about the water quality as any group, but some are not able to carry those big cases of water – let alone leave their homes to get to the store.
That’s why there is a plea for donations.
“It makes me very sad that we have to worry about water,” said Shirley Milton, of the Brennan Senior Center.
When the news broke that elevated levels of lead were found in the Flint water supply, Milton immediately thought of the dozens of “regulars” who come to the Brennan Senior Center.
“When we first heard about the water issue, we started to buy water for the seniors to have here during lunch time and throughout the day,” Milton said.
After the City of Flint put out a lead advisory, they took their efforts a step further, offering their seniors water to take home.
“We’ll be willing to share water, that is, if we have water,” Milton said.
That’s the problem – they rely on donations. At this point, those are not flowing through the door.
The same holds true at the Hasselbring Senior Center on the city’s north side.
Center director Mark Rice said they’ve reached out to big box stores for water donations for immediate relief.
“We were very fortunate to have quite a few people sponsor that for us, so we do provide water right here,” Rice said.
They’ve also made it a priority to get quality water to seniors who are stuck at home.
“For those that are home-bound but are still within our reach, we deliver it to them,” Rice said.
As leaders in Lansing try to work toward a long-term solution for the water crisis, the focus in Flint remains on how to cope with it day to day.
“While it is a challenge, I really feel that if everyone can come together to make a difference, let’s try to do that,” Rice said.
If you want to donate, you can visit the senior centers at the addresses listed below:
Brennan Senior Center
1301 Pingree Ave, Flint, MI 48503
Hasselbring Senior Center
1002 W Home Ave, Flint, MI 48505