Have We Learned From Flint?

I was appalled at the first mention of the Flint, Michigan water scandal. The public should never be subjected to unsafe drinking water. It is the role of city and state governments to eliminate risks. They must stay informed themselves while also educating the public about water quality. Let me refresh your memory. In 2016, it was found that the Flint River (the main source for potable water) contained higher levels of lead than recommended. Apparently, it had not been tested and therefore insufficient treatment had not taken place. Water is so vital, and it is so important that it be clean, that a state of emergency was declared for 100,000 people. It had taken two years for town officials to discover the problem. It made news worldwide. People were appalled and then frightened. They wanted to know how those in power could let this happen. Would it happen in their own town?

The immediate solution was to use only bottled or filtered water for drinking and cooking. It was even recommended for bathing. A year later, the crisis abated although residents continued to filter their water, or buy it in cases. They will have to do this for several more years while the old lead pipes are replaced. This really called the issue of clean water to my attention. I don’t want to take any changes so I installed a whole house water filtration system like the ones here. I didn’t care the cost. Too many ailments can come from drinking contaminated water. You have to trust your utility company, but the question is “can you?”

I love the fact that I am now protected and I don’t have to buy my water in bulk and store it. I don’t have that much excess space. A water system can be placed under or over counter or at the point of origin of your water supply. You can do a minimal job and put a small one on your kitchen faucet. The point is to be aware of the problem and to take action if you are concerned. It is a huge ethical issue that Flint exposed. I am sure it prompted other towns to follow suit and test their water and start to replace pipes. I expect to hear more scandals in coming years.

We need more grass roots citizens programs to tackle the potential for abuse and to take it upon themselves to make inquiries and to hold elected officials responsible. A few key leaders can get neighborhoods motivated and in the end a full-town coalition can bring change. It can be any issue such as a lack of public parks and playgrounds, insufficient bike paths, obsolete school facilities, and more. Water is one likely to gain a lot of local interest. We are all concerned about whether or not we know the truth. We must mandate periodic testing and reporting to residents. We need to know more about what is happening all around us. Most people just hide their heads in the sand.