How this happened, how long it’s been going on, what’s the solution
An in-depth look at Flint, Michigan’s Water Woes
Lead is nothing new. It’s a heavy metal that’s been a part of our environment for as long as any of us have been alive. Lead is a heavy metal and can do neurological damage if it finds its way into our blood stream. Lead is in the water in Flint, Michigan at high levels and that has put it on the national radar, because if it’s ingested, it enters the blood stream and starts to cause problems.
Flint, Michigan is an hour drive from the Great Lakes—the largest grouping of fresh water bodies on Earth. However if you live in Flint, you can’t get clean tap water. How did this happen? In the US, we have agencies that protect our water, yet an entire generation of children in Flint may suffer the consequences of a series of preventable mistakes.
Two years ago, in a cost-cutting move, the state switched Flint’s water supply from Lake Huron (which they were paying the city of Detroit for) to the Flint River.
Soon after the switch was made, the water started to smell, taste bad and people said it looked dirty.
The problem was the water in the Flint River was more acidic and corrosive than the water from Lake Huron. This more corrosive water was eroding the iron water pipes, turning the water brown with rust. It’s estimated that half of the transit (plumbing) lines in Flint are made of lead and because the water wasn’t properly treated, lead began leaching into the water supply, in addition to the iron.
It wasn’t until a local doctor noticed skin rashes and hair loss in children that the problem became evident. This doctor looked at the level of lead in bloodwork and realized the problem long before anyone knew there was a problem.
In August, Virginia Tech researchers did in-home testing and confirmed the doctor’s suspicions: high levels of lead in drinking water.
Later it became publicly known that the Safe Drinking Water Act had not been properly followed. A study on the Flint River water revealed that if the river water had been treated with an anti-corrosive agent, it would have been considered safe for drinking, and this entire problem would have been avoided. Adding that agent would have cost $100 a day.
In October, Flint reverted to using Detroit’s Lake Huron water supply, but the damage was done to the lead pipes. Even with properly treated source water, lead was still in the taps in Flint because the damage was already done.
The only way to ensure any lead is removed from water is to filter the water before consuming it, which is why Aquasana is offering filters up to 80% off to Flint residents. We want to be a part of this solution for the long haul.
Water is a basic necessity and one that shouldn’t be compromised.
To learn more about this and other water related topics, please visit www.aquasana.com.