How to tell the good guys from the bad guys

Watch this remarkable, poignant, mind-blowing contrast:

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The people of Flint are the ones who deserve to be mad after first having any semblance of democracy stolen from them by Snyder's emergency manager. That decision led to Flint's water supply being switched back to the Flint River to "save money" as well as the stopping of daily water purification treatments, again to save money. Some of Snyder's people forwarded emails originally from Flint, in which complaints about water were detailed, around offices in Lansing, joking about the complaints. The state not only said there was no reason to return to water from Lake Huron, one of the aid bills for the city was written so that funds would be available only if Flint did not return to Lake Huron water. Officials indicated in a February memo to the governor that there is no "imminent threat to public health" with the nature of the problem being "communicated poorly."

There's a shit-ton more: the employees of DEQ who tossed out water samples that had high levels of lead in them in order to bring the average readings for the overall sample to normal levels, and more. Local news organizations reported the city had employees disregard federal rules requiring the seeking out of homes with lead plumbing for inclusion in sampling for testing water - which resulted in the underestimation of the seriousness of the problem. In fact, the dishonesty was blatant:

[In early 2016] Flint water officials filed papers with state regulators purporting to show that "tests at Flint's water treatment plant had detected no lead and testing in homes had registered lead at acceptable levels. The documents falsely claimed that the city had tested tap water from homes with lead service lines, and therefore the highest lead-poisoning risks; in reality; the city does not know the locations of lead service lines, which city officials acknowledged in November 2015

How bad did it get?

In a new report released March 1, 2016, 37 of the 423 recently tested sentinel sites had results above the 15 ppb limit. Eight of the samples exceeded 100 ppb

The level to which Snyder's government dismissed the city of Flint (until the issue made big news on the national level, when they began treating it as a PR problem) is staggering. Even after General Motors stopped using Flint River water in 2014, telling the state that the water was so contaminated it was damaging their equipment, Snyder and his group continued to deny there was any problem.

And a noticeable percentage of Michigan residents still don't see a problem. There have been more than a few comments on news sites saying "You can't say any of the kids in Flint have been damaged by this because none of them will ever amount to anything anyway."

Yeah, the people in Flint have a right to be royally pissed: everyone in Michigan should be.


I agree - the people of flint have a right to be pissed.

What I wonder about what is the remedy?

It is my understanding that the mains are not made from lead.

It is my understanding that it is the private lines from each home that are made from lead.

So - one solution would be for the city to swap out all the private lead lines with new ones and assess each homeowner the cost of the job (1 or 2 thousand probably).

Even then - there is probably lead in the fixtures in the homes.

You seem to know a lot about this issue.

What is your understanding of where the lead is coming from?

From the water in the river?

Or is it leaching out of old lead private water lines connected to the mains?

Just curious.

I don't live in Michigan, so don't know the answer.

It's a combination of stuff.

* A lot of homes are old and have lead lines. That's part of the reason the city had been treating water for years
* A lot of the city lines have lead

The largest driver is that the Flint river was the dumping ground for crap from businesses for so long (Flint was a big auto manufacturer back in the day: Ford used to go up there and get goons to take to Detroit and fight it out with strikers, GM's execs got goons from Detroit to take to Flint to do the same thing) that using it for drinking water without treatment of any kind would be stupid (for a rational government: the emergency manager position weren't staffed by rational people and the position wasn't invented for any rational reason)

Thanks for the explanation Dean.

I agree - water treatment is a must.

It is a no brainer to change out the city lines which have lead.

It doesn't matter how much it costs - that will get done (in my opinion).

The private lines are a bit tougher of an issue.

Who is going to pay?

I think the homeowners have to pay - and many of them won't be able to afford it or won't do it.

Then what?

Tough issue.

Let's see
* water had been treated for years, at low cost. The state emergency manager stopped it for "cost reasons"
* the city had been warned by GM people that tests showed the water in the Flint river was badly contaminated and not safe enough even for industrial use. No action from the state
* The state switched Flint off a water supply from Detroit to a local supply for "cost reasons" even though the initial costs would be more
* Initial reports of bad water came almost immediately after the switch. State officials ignored them and, in many cases, made fun of them
* Officials from the DEQ ignored samples that showed elevated lead levels and purposely failed to follow federal guidelines for testing
* The state began supplying its officials in flint with bottled while advising them not to drink water from the tap while stating publically "there is no problem with flint water"

I'm struggling to see how any of this problem can be laid at the feet of the people who live there. But then I'm not a dick.

I think they have grounds for a RICO suit for attempted genocide.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 06 May 2016 #permalink