On Wednesday the state of Michigan sued Flint for failing to approve a water deal. Just how long can a clean water disaster in the US go on?
If you haven’t heard about the clean water crisis in Flint, Michigan, this article is a good start. Essentially, the city is going on two years with dangerously high lead levels in the city’s water system. There have been 87 cases of Legionnaires’ disease, and 10 people have died.
How could this have been avoided? Thanks to the team over at FiveThirtyEight, we have an idea of how this problem slipped under the radar for so long. Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality took random samples of water but didn’t include all of the samples it took in its analysis.
Because two high-lead samples were excluded, Flint wasn’t required to take action by the federal government. If the department had included all of the samples it took, the city wouldn’t have been below the threshold for mandatory action.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20 –– and the nation has banded together to help the city fix its problems and restore its water system. The water crisis is much bigger than Flint alone. Check out our post on the facts about global water pollution.