Summary: The Flint Water Crisis
Most Americans would readily agree that all people deserve the right to clean water, but the when they realize the large monetary commitment this requires, the water becomes murky, both literally and figuratively. This phenomenon is pronounced in Flint, Michigan. The downturns of the auto industry in the 1980s wrecked havoc in this prominently black city to the extent that today about 40% of its citizens live under the poverty line. In 2014, Flint sought a new way to reduce its spending: switching their source of water. Before this, Flint got its water from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD), but the price to acquire their water from Detroit continued to rise. Eventually, they were one …show more content…
Because the Flint River has naturally high levels of corrosive chloride, it was more 8x more corrosive than the DWSD water the city had become accustomed to. This became a significant problem because of the presence of lead in pipes delivering the water to Flint’s citizens. In the late 1980s, the United States began to ban the use of lead pipes and solder. While this was a positive step forward, it could not change the misdeeds of the past. About 50% of homes in Flint still use lead service lines and other homes may have copper pipes with lead solder. This was not a problem when Flint used Detroit’s drinking water because Detroit added corrosion control chemicals such as a phosphate corrosion inhibitor to keep the lead out of the water that runs through the pipes. The phosphate would oxidize before the metal in the pipes would, galvanize and create a passivation layer, protecting the inside of the pipes from corrosion. When the Flint water treatment plant began treating the water from the Flint River, it opted out of the addition of these inhibitors. This causes the passivation layer to begin to dissolve, allowing mineral particles to flake off of the inside of the pipe, corrupting the water. The combination of this very corrosive water source and the lack of a corrosion inhibitor had dangerous results. When researchers from Virginia Tech investigated …show more content…
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