Unbeknownst to most, the Flint Water Crisis originally began back in 2007 after Flint decided to use Flint River as a backup water source. Residents had expressed disdain for this idea, fearful of possible waste and sewage spills into the river.
In 2010, Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) started work on a $270 million project which was set to be completed later that year. The project would construct the pumping stations and pipelines in the city.
A year later, a $25 million deficit caused Flint’s water supply fund to fall $9 million in the red, forcing the state of Michigan to gain full control of the city’s finances. This was only the beginning of one of the country’s largest health crisis in modern history.
In April 2014, after the city had switched its water supply, residents noticed a change in the water. The taste and color was eerily different. People began to fall ill after consumption. City officials were notified but denied any changes in the water. It wasn’t until August of that year that the city determined E. coli bacteria had been found in the water; therefore, residents needed to be placed on a boil water alert.
Almost two years later, the problem has yet to be fixed, but the people of Michigan are making strides to solve the issues. Just a few days ago, four more local officials were charged with felonies for their involvement in the Flint water crisis. This brings the total of people charged to 13. It is said that these officials all played a part in exposing residents to dangerous levels of lead.
Many have complained that the state is not acting quickly enough because of the racial demographic of Flint. 56.6% of 98,310 residents are African-American. A staggering 41.6% live below the poverty line.
This could be a contributing factor as to why it has taken the state so long to make very minimal progress, although things finally appear to be moving forward in the right direction.
Maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel after all.