Flint Water Crisis Exposes Water Quality Concerns

Flint Water Crisis Exposes Water Quality Concerns

The Flint water crisis exposes major deficiencies in our national water infrastructure and the safety of our water.
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Green Builder Media CEO, Sara Gutterman

Green Builder Media

Friday, February 19, 2016 - 7:00am

CAMPAIGN: Saving Water


When most people think about water problems in the U.S., the first thing that comes to mind is water scarcity. But the Flint water crisis has brought to light another pressing issue: water quality.

A recent Gallop poll showed that 55% of Americans expressed that they worry “a great deal” about polluted drinking water. This worry is certainly valid, considering the dilapidated state of our national water infrastructure, in combination with rampant cost-cutting measures and patchy water management practices in communities across the country.

In Flint, the water crisis was entirely man-made—officials decided to switch the water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money. Failure to treat the water properly corroded the lead pipes, resulting in a toxic soup that was consumed widely by Flint residents.

Unfortunately, Flint is a microcosm of a systemic problem, and only one example of habitual pattern that we have in this country of avoidance of clear indications and consistent warnings that we’ve done grave environmental damage.

According to actor and environmental activist Mark Ruffalo, “In 2009, federal data revealed that water being delivered to tens of millions of Americans contained illegal concentrations of dangerous chemicals. That contamination has led to widespread ill-effects such as rashes and elevated risk of various diseases, as well as hundreds of thousands of Clean Water Act violations… Sadly, there have since been numerous high-profile cases of contamination, such as in Toledo, Ohio, in 2014, where agricultural runoff and crumbling infrastructure led to an algal bloom in Lake Erie that made the city’s drinking water unsafe. Also in 2014, in West Virginia, a chemical spill contaminated the Elk River, the tap water supply for hundreds of thousands of people. This past August, 3 million gallons of contaminated water were released into the Animas River in Colorado, resulting in lead levels 3,500 times normal and arsenic levels 300 times normal, affecting many communities and farms.”


CATEGORY: Environment