By: Treasure McDaniel
In Flint, Mich., the water has been contaminated with lead. Consumption of lead causes serious sickness and even death. This contamination was most damaging to children. How did a town of 100,000 lose access to something so simple as clean drinking water?
Before this contamination, Flint purchased its water from Detroit, which properly treated the water with orthophosphate. Orthophosphate is a chemical that coats pipes while water flows, preventing lead from leaching in the water supply. In 2014, Flint switched from Detroit’s water supply to the Flint River to save money. The city however, did not use corrosion control. Flint River’s water contains more than eight times as much chloride than Detroit’s water.
Chloride is a chemical that is corrosive to metals. When the river’s water flowed through the old lead pipes of Flint, the water ate away at the pipes causing lead to enter the supply. Residents claim they saw the switch as soon as it happened. The water was a brownish-yellow color, smelled, and tasted odd. Flint switched back to Detroit’s water supply in October 2015.
A Chicago resident said “The water was purposely poisoned. If the governor knew that the water contained chloride and that Flint did not follow the same procedures as Detroit, then why would he continue to make the switch?” This resident argued that this water crisis is a conspiracy organized by the government to bring an end to a struggling city.
Another Chicago resident said “This crisis was a poor mistake made by a money hungry governor that picked money over the health of civilians.” This resident argued that the mistake was made by the governor thinking with his pockets instead of his heart.