This is what happened to the pipes after just one month.
It’s been nearly three years since the Flint Water Crisis began in Flint, Michigan, but it went unbeknownst to citizens for nearly a year, which is when an independent investigation by Virginia Tech was conducted and residents’ worst fears were confirmed.
If you didn’t keep up with the crisis, the gist of the situation is that Flint switched to using water from the Flint River rather than the Detroit River to cut costs and then failed to add corrosion-reducing phosphates to the water to make the switch even cheaper. Instead, officials decided to wait and see if the Flint River would corrode pipes; as you know, we now know the answer.
Over a year after the switch was made in April 2014, researchers set out to study the basic effects of the water on iron pipes by submerging iron nails in the Detroit River and Flint River for one month each. In the image below, the top nail is from the Detroit River and the bottom is from the Flint River.
The most disturbing part of this is that these nails were exposed for only one month, whereas Flint residents drank and cooked with this water faithfully until the truth was revealed about the state of the water. Even now, three years later, most residents still have corroded pipes and many of the officials involved in the cover-up were not indicted.
According to a letter from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to Flint’s mayor, lead-levels in the water are now just below the federal limit. Officials are still advising residents to use filtered water for drinking and cooking and the state is slowly working on replacing all of the corroded pipes.
As of Friday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee stated in letters to other Republicans that,
“The committee found significant problems at Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality and unacceptable delays in the Environmental Protection Agency’s response to the crisis. The committee also found that the federal regulatory framework is so outdated that it sets up states to fail.”
These statements effectively closed the investigation into the Flint Water Crisis, though Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has yet to provide key documents pertaining to the case and has evaded requests for such documents for a year now. While Democratic Senator Elijah Cummings from Maryland, a senior member of the oversight panel, continues to request these documents, he said that it’s unlikely that the Republican members of the committee will continue their inquiry into the matter.
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