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Rooted in neglect, fallout continues – The Daily Reporter – WI Construction News & Bids – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021-01-13 08:54:15 –

By JOHN FLESHERAP
Environmental writer

Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, his health director, and other former officials are allegedly charged after a new investigation into the Flint water scandal, according to the Associated Press.

There are some questions and answers about the emergencies that made Flint a symbol of the country’s declining drinking water system:

What happened and how?

In 2014, the city switched its drinking water source from Detroit, about 70 miles south, to the Flint River as a temporary cost-cutting measure. At that time, Flint was under the control of a financial manager appointed by Snyder.

Residents soon began complaining about the taste and smell of water, raising other health concerns such as skin rashes and hair loss. However, it was in September 2015 that the Snyder administration acknowledged the problem. By that time, doctors had found high levels of lead in the child’s blood.

Where did Reed come from?

State environmental regulators have advised local authorities not to treat river water with anticorrosive additives. River water was scraping lead from aging pipes and plumbing fixtures.

Where was the federal government in all of this?

The Environmental Protection Agency has been criticized for failing to respond promptly. The director of the regional office resigned in 2015 in accusation of a neglected warning triggered by scientists at an institution that visited Flint and took water samples from his home. The EPA declared an emergency in 2016 and the following year provided $ 100 million to improve Flint’s water system.

How have the residents been affected?

It may take years to know the consequences of lead contamination. It can damage the child’s brain and nervous system, causing learning and behavioral problems. In adults, it can increase the risk of heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, and infertility. In addition, according to experts, bacteria from poorly treated water could have caused the outbreak of legionellosis, killing 12 people and dozens while Flint was using river water. Got sick.

This situation disrupted the lives of cities where people lined up for bottled water and filters for months in reports of rising anxiety and depression.

What were the legal and political fallouts?

Many state and local officials have lost their jobs, including the director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Five officials, including the state health director, were charged with manslaughter for failing to warn the public about the outbreak of Legioinnaires disease. The state’s chief health officer was charged with obstructing justice. A smaller number was submitted for some others.

After the newly elected Attorney General Dana Nessel dismissed the team of prosecutors in 2019, most cases were resolved or dismissed by complaints of misdemeanor.

Is the situation over?

Contamination did not stop immediately, but Flint resumed use of Detroit water in October 2015. However, by 2017, the lead content in Flint’s water was well below the federal government’s action level of 15 ppb. Authorities said last month that inspections of service lines that bring water from trunk lines to homes were nearing completion, with more than 9,700 replaced. Still, many residents remain skeptical that their water is safe.

Will Flint Residents be compensated?

In response to the surge in proceedings, Governor Nessel and Gretchen Whitmer announced a $ 600 million settlement last August. The settlement increased to $ 641 million with the addition of the city, local hospitals and consulting firms. The contract established a process for filing a claim and was almost 80% of the money allocated to a claimant who was a minor when exposed to contaminated water.

Did racism play a role in the crisis?

Many believe that. Flint, the birthplace of General Motors, is the majority of black cities suffering from the decline of the automobile industry. In a 2017 report, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission questioned whether it was allowed to occur in the prosperous, predominantly white suburbs. “The answer is no, and we believe that the racism and evidence of discrimination found in Flint made it a unique target,” the report said. Earlier, a committee appointed by Snyder described the crisis as an example of “environmental fraud.”



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