The governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, has declared a state of emergency in Flint on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 due to problems with lead in the city’s water. On the same day, federal officials stated that they were investigating the issue, which motioned a local public health emergency.
While it has not been confirmed if this investigation is criminal or civil, the United States attorney’s spokeswoman Gina Balaya wants to make it very clear that this exploration into the Flint’s water crisis is “an effort to address the concerns of Flint residents”, which she stated in an email.
This news comes three months after the water system from Flint, MI returned to Detroit’s water system. In 2014, Flint moved their water sourcing from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River water in order to reduce finances, even though this move was seemingly temporary while a pipeline was being constructed from Lake Huron.
The investigation highlights residents’ complaints on the water’s altered taste, smell, and appearance, alongside the fact that children have been seen an increased level of lead due to the water supply which can lead to behavior problems and learning disabilities.
Since Michigan’s proclamation that the city was in a state of emergency allowed Karen Weaver to highlight some of the changes that need to happen. The mayor of Flint, MI believes that the city will need more funding for special education because lead “can cause effects to a child’s IQ, which will result in learning disabilities.” However, that was not the only place that she believed require more funding.
She thinks that the city should invest in more mental health services, the juvenile justice system, and an increase in adoptive and foster parents because the increased lead in children’s bodies produce damaging effects.
While the state did not care too much about the lead in the beginning, they eventually committed to spending $10.6 million to connect Flint to Detroit, alongside services including filter responses and testing. While the city’s disaster declaration request is approximately $50 million, the majority of that money — $45 million – will replace lead service lines.
(Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)