This failure was preventable, and sadly catastrophic, in its impact on Flint’s families. Put simply, this was a human failure based on poor decision-making, degraded capacity, and inaction at all levels of government.
- In 2014, with the City of Flint under emergency management, the Flint Water Department rushed unprepared into full-time operation of the Flint Water Treatment Plant.
- The Department began drawing water from a highly corrosive source, the Flint River, but neglected to use corrosion control as required under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead and Copper Rule.
- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) incorrectly determined that this critical element of water treatment was not immediately required.
- As a direct result, the corrosive water caused lead to leach from the old pipes and plumbing fixtures. Poisoning the water and increasing the likelihood of water contamination with Legionella.
- Despite mounting evidence, the State rebuffed efforts to report and publicize this issue.
- The EPA, which should have exercised its powers under the Safe Drinking Water Act, failed to act for over nine months to protect Flint’s families from poisoning.
- Accepted practice is that any lead in drinking water is dangerous.
- The EPA requires corrective safety intervention at 15 parts per billion (ppb).
- Toxic waste is defined by the EPA as 5000 ppb of lead.
- Lead levels in some Flint homes were 10,000 ppb, double the definition of toxic waste.
- Widespread lead poisoning and an increase in Legionnaire’s Disease are the results of these preventable failures.
- The economic viability, home values and livelihood of Flint’s residents have been seriously impacted, and will be for years to come.
Flint’s children have been particularly impacted by drinking poisoned water. Lead poisoning is dangerous for everyone, but children’s growing bodies are more susceptible to the dangerous effects of lead poisoning.
- Over 30,000 children under 18 years old live in Flint, which means the scope of impacted lives is tremendous and long-lasting.
- The EPA recommends no lead at all in drinking water.
- Just 1 microgram of lead per deciliter of blood can degrade intelligence and testing performance in children. Flint’s children had far more. One child 33 times that hazardous amount of lead.
- With the elevated blood levels of lead seen in Flint, thousands of children are now susceptible to permanent brain damage and a significantly increased risk of contracting cancer, respiratory ailments, intestinal disorders, physical impairments and other serious diseases.
The best solution to addressing healthcare and economic needs for Flint is passing the Flint Act. The Flint Act represents the only pathway for our nation to fix this injustice.
- With 41% of the Flint’s citizens living under the federal poverty rate, and the city under state oversight since 2011, Flint does not have the means to manage the coming financial burden.
- Establishing a Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) on behalf of the Flint families creates a direct means to provide health care guarantees and economic support.
- With the ability to address these concerns in a focused and limited way, the federal government will prevent any future claims against the City of Flint or the State of Michigan sectors thereby preventing an irreparable impact on the local government and economy.