A picture of bottle allegedly filled with Flint, Mich., tap water taken by photojournalist Jake May of The Flint Journal made its rounds on the front page of Reddit Friday.
— CBC News (@CBCNews) January 15, 2016
May took the picture while attending a protest in front of the Gov. Rick Snyder’s office. The poster on Reddit, SAT0725, claims that “[t]he city’s been sending notices for past-due water bills even though the water has been poisoned with lead.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation has confirmed that Flint is still billing people for tap water, but its unclear if they’re sending past due notices.
The corrosive nature of Flint’s drinking water is causing lead from pipes and pathogens to get into the town’s water supply, according to a study by Virginia Tech. Flint is currently dealing with an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, a dangerous infection that usually spreads through a tainted water source.
Nearly two years ago, the city decided to save money by switching Flint’s water supply from Lake Huron to a local river. The city is in a deep financial hole as retiree pension and health expenses consume $0.32 of every dollar in Flint’s general fund. The city has long been approaching bankruptcy due to these costs.
“If Flint were to go to bankruptcy, that would highlight that this legacy-cost problem has to be addressed more globally,”Eric Scorsone, a Michigan State University economist, told Bloomberg News in 2014. “Flint’s at the forefront, but a lot of cities are on the same train, and that train is headed for the cliff.”
The state of Michigan, however, applied the wrong standards for governing drinking water, resulting in a system that did not properly control corrosion. Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder activated the National Guard Tuesday to help distribute bottled water and filters to the 100,000 residents of Flint.
EPA official Susan Hedman did not publicize the EPA’s concern over Flint’s water quality or the water’s dangerous health concerns. The federal agency instead quietly fought with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for at least six months about what should be done.
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