Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Why Are Flint Residents Being Forced to Pay for Their Toxic Water?

Why Are Flint Residents Being Forced to Pay for Their Toxic Water?

National advocacy group Food & Water Watch today joined local Flint, Michigan residents calling for a moratorium on water service bills until the water flowing from taps is free of lead and other contaminants. The move is an effort to raise awareness about the alarming shutoff notices Flint residents are facing for non-payment, even as people are not able to drink their tap water or cook with it.

Flint residents are facing water shutoff notices for non-payment, even as their tap water is too contaminated to drink or cook with. Photo credit: Food & Water Watch

“In 2016, it's shocking that an entire U.S. city cannot drink its tap water. Now they are shutting off residents for overdue bills. But no one should have to pay for poisoned tap water," Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said. “Today we're calling on Mayor Karen Weaver, City Administrator Natasha Henderson and Flint's Chief Financial Officer Jody Lundquist to stop the water shut offs in Flint; restore service where it has been disconnected, which is necessary for basic sanitation and hygiene; and to cease billing Flint residents for water until this tragic situation has been corrected."

“Skin rashes, hair loss and long-term health consequences that result from copper and lead poisoning are just some of the impacts that Flint residents like me and my family have been dealing with for over a year," Melissa Mays, Flint resident and founder of Water You Fighting For?, said. “To be told our water was safe to drink when it wasn't is criminal and to continue to have to pay for it is unconscionable."

In 2014, Flint's emergency manager Darnell Earley disconnected the city from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and started providing residents with water from the Flint River in order to cut costs. Almost immediately after the switch, residents noticed changes in the smell, color and taste of the water coming out of their taps. Tests showed high levels of bacteria that forced the city to issue boil advisories. The city then upped the amount of chlorine it used to treat the polluted river water to kill pathogens, resulting in high levels of potentially carcinogenic disinfectant byproducts. The city failed to put in place proper corrosion controls based on direction from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, so lead and other heavy metals leached into Flint's drinking water, poisoning residents for over a year.

Despite the fact that it knew about the problems with Flint's water, Governor Rick Snyder's administration and the Department of Environmental Quality told Flint residents that their water was safe to drink.

“Flint is not the first city to fall victim to the shortsighted quick fixes of emergency management, particularly in Michigan," Hauter added. "Conservative-led austerity measures have stripped communities like Flint, Detroit and Highland Park of democracy, taking control of vital resources like water away from the people and placing them in the hands of incompetent emergency dictators who then cut corners, shut off water service and pave the way for corporate control. We must reverse the austerity measures that have brought Flint to this dire place and commit federal funding to upgrade our water infrastructure so no community suffers without access to safe, clean, affordable water."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

5 Disturbing Things Porter Ranch Methane Leak and Flint Water Crisis Have in Common

California to Investigate Exxon on Climate Cover-Up

Michael Moore: 10 People in Flint Have Now Been Killed by These Premeditated Actions of the Governor of Michigan

Obama Declares Flint Water Crisis a State of Emergency

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Methane flares at a fracking site near a home in Colorado on Oct. 25, 2014. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

In the coming days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to use its power to roll back yet another Obama-era environmental protection meant to curb air pollution and slow the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Researchers on the ICESCAPE mission, funded by NASA, examine melt ponds and their surrounding ice in 2011 to see how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the biological and chemical makeup of the ocean. NASA / Flickr

By Alex Kirby

The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.

Read More Show Less
President Vladimir Putin is seen enjoying the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Russia's Health Ministry has given regulatory approval for the world's first COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
A John Deere agricultural tractor sits under a collapsed building following a derecho storm on Aug. 10, 2020 near Franklin Grove, Illinois. Daniel Acker / Getty Images

A powerful series of thunderstorms roared across the Midwest on Monday, downing trees, damaging structures and knocking out power to more than a million people.

Read More Show Less
A scenic view of West Papua. Reza Fakhrudin / Pexels

By Arkilaus Kladit

My name is Arkilaus Kladit. I'm from the Knasaimos-Tehit tribe in South Sorong Regency, West Papua Province, Indonesia. For decades my tribe has been fighting to protect our forests from outsiders who want to log it or clear it for palm oil. For my people, the forest is our mother and our best friend. Everything we need to survive comes from the forest: food, medicines, building materials, and there are many sacred sites in the forest.

Read More Show Less
Everyone overthinks their lives or options every once in a while. Some people, however, can't stop the wheels and halt their train of thoughts. Peter Griffith / Getty Images

By Farah Aqel

Overthinkers are people who are buried in their own obsessive thoughts. Imagine being in a large maze where each turn leads into an even deeper and knottier tangle of catastrophic, distressing events — that is what it feels like to them when they think about the issues that confront them.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A newly developed catalyst would transform carbon dioxide from power plants and other sources into ethanol. DWalker44 / E+ / Getty Images

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a cheap, efficient way to convert carbon dioxide into liquid fuel, potentially reducing the amount of new carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere.

Read More Show Less