We can debate the role of government, but almost everyone agrees it shouldn’t provide services that kill people.
The Independent reports the city of Flint is still charging residents up to $200 a month for water so contaminated with lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls it “toxic waste.”
The federal government alleges the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has allowed Flint to sell the dangerous, brown water for months. Residents have reported the water is making their hair fall out and causing rashes on their skin.
Ten people have died from Legionnaire’s disease, a pneumonia-like condition caused by bacteria in tainted water.
President Obama declared a state of emergency Saturday, meaning the U.S. government will help pay to provide clean water to 100,000 or so affected residents.
The safety of Flint’s water supply has been questioned since 2013 when, in a cost-cutting move, the state began using water from the contaminated Flint River. The water was so corrosive it began scouring lead from ancient pipes, experts say.
About half of the service lines to homes in Flint are made of lead, says CNN, a metal highly harmful to human health. Lead paint in homes was banned in 1978 and the metal has been proven to damage the liver, kidneys, reproductive system, and nervous system, including the brain.
The EPA is investigating why an anti-corrosive agent wasn’t used to treat the river water before it was introduced to the aging pipes.
State water director Dan Wyant stepped down Dec. 29.
Despite the long-term damage being done to people’s health, the city began charging more for the river water which often smells like untreated sewage.
“I noticed the middle of July 2014 we were getting $150 water bills,” Flint resident Tyrone Wooten told Mic.com while picking up a case of water at a local fire station. The online news site surveyed many families and could find no one paying less than $120 a month for water. Most families we paying closer to $200 a month.
“This shit is criminal,” Kendrick Boyd, a Flint resident, told Mic.com. “[Governor Snyder] deserves to go to prison for this. … They gave [former Detroit mayor] Kwame Kilpatrick 28 years for stealing money. This man just endangered lives. People die from this.”
How safe is your water? Good question. I’ve had my DeKalb County tap water tested twice in recent years and the results are great. As the multiple breweries in my area will attest, it makes great beer and, if you have to, you can even drink it straight out of the tap.