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View Full Version : Is the Flint, Michigan water story making news outside of Michigan?



Paul Pless
10-01-2015, 02:12 PM
Detroit has a quite reputable water system. They have historically sold water to other municipalities in the area; this was a contentious revenue stream and source of value during Detroit's recent bankruptcy filing. A couple of years ago the city of Flint began building its own water system and disconnected from the Detroit source a little over a year ago. Immediately there were complaints from residents about the taste, smell, overall quality of the water, including skin problems when used for bathing. Now they're finding elevated lead levels in the drinking water, to potentially dangerous levels.

Today the bomb was dropped. The switch to Flint source water is yielding highly corrosive water, which is eating away the pipes in Flint releasing lead and other metals. A bigger issue long term than the lead is that the corrosiveness has shortened the life of the entire Flint water sytem by more than eleven years and will cost the city up to $5 billion dollars in repairs and maintenance.

Further there are questions at the failure of EPA to step in before now to at least monitor the situation.

Flint City managers continue to refuse to return to Detroit sourced water, citing the high cost of Detroit water makes it unfeasible. . .

George Jung
10-01-2015, 02:15 PM
Source of the contaminants? Must be highly acidic, as well - why?

I like the 'blame the EPA' - they had to be following guidelines/testing, and failing - unless they were fudging the results. Nasty deal.

Paul Pless
10-01-2015, 02:22 PM
Source of the contaminants? Must be highly acidic, as well - why?

I like the 'blame the EPA' - they had to be following guidelines/testing, and failing - unless they were fudging the results. Nasty deal.i'm not blaming the epa, but when you get thousands of complaints about water quality it would seem like maybe they should have responded before now

George Jung
10-01-2015, 02:25 PM
I missed that; who has been complaining to the EPA? The municipalities have to follow guidelines, testing followed by the state. I'd suspect, from there, to the EPA. Did that happen?

Katherine
10-01-2015, 02:28 PM
Flint tested their water and said it met the EPA standards. Multiple independent test have been run showing that it doesn't. Flint city leaders may very well have been fudging the numbers.

John of Phoenix
10-01-2015, 03:00 PM
Couldn't have anything to do with defunding an agency, could it?

AKA "Drown it in a bathtub (full of toxic water)."

Reynard38
10-01-2015, 05:16 PM
Oh gee, I'll have to take Flint off my must go list.:rolleyes:

Seriously like anybody needed another reason to avoid the place. Talk about getting kicked when your down.

Paul Pless
10-01-2015, 05:22 PM
Oh gee, I'll have to take Flint off my must go list.:rolleyes:

Seriously like anybody needed another reason to avoid the place. Talk about getting kicked when your down.Much like Detroit, it was at one time one the wealthiest cities in America as measured by per capita income, also had one of the highest rates of paid for home ownership. Its only an hour away and there's a few things interesting to see there, I make it up about once or twice a year. Last year the Flint Institute of art hosted an extremely large exhibit of boat and ship plans and half models. Well worth the visit. One of the best such exhibits I have ever seen anywhere. There's a stop on a steam locomotive which does a microbrewery tour of Michigan, a couple of other museums including the Buick Automotive Gallery. So I go, I just don't drink the water. . .

But this is really about the residents of Flint.

Chris Smith porter maine
10-01-2015, 05:30 PM
In Michigan it is the DEQ that handles the oversight of community water systems, not the EPA directly.

http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3675_3691---,00.html

Osborne Russell
10-01-2015, 06:30 PM
Let me guess, it involves a consultant, a contractor, and an office-holding proponent of privatization, who make a great show of being unacquainted with each other.

Vince Brennan
10-01-2015, 06:57 PM
Well, I guess "The Iron Men" are really striking for legitimate grasp of the title! (Flint joke):)

Dan McCosh
10-01-2015, 07:04 PM
Missing from this tale is the fact that Flint is one of the cities that have been run by so-called emergency financial managers, which means that the elected local officials have been replaced by political appointments made by the state's governor. One of the decisions made by the appointee was to pump water out of the Flint River rather than pay for water from the regional water system operated by the City of Detroit. This was an effort to save money, by cutting the cost of the water. Might note a similar decision made another of the governor's appointees led to cutting off flush toilets in 10,000 occupied homes in the City of Detroit. Another one made by another of the governor's appointees meant eliminating Flint's police department. Another led to eliminating the fire department in Muskegon Heights, replacing the fire truck with a pickup holding a tank of water and a pump. The Muskegon Heights manager is now Flint's city manager. Another manager has eliminated the only high school in Highland Park, Michigan. The larger picture here is eliminating the elected governments in the poorest, areas of the state, occupied mainly by African Americans, and replacing them with politically appointed business connections.

BrianW
10-01-2015, 07:29 PM
The new Syrian refuges are going to hate the place.

Paul Pless
10-01-2015, 07:33 PM
The new Syrian refuges are going to hate the place.you know that detroit has the largest arab population of any city in the united states? and it has been thus since before wwii. . .

StevenBauer
10-01-2015, 07:37 PM
Last year the Flint Institute of art hosted an extremely large exhibit of boat and ship plans and half models. Well worth the visit. One of the best such exhibits I have ever seen anywhere.

How did I miss your thread about this? We're there pictures?

;)

ccmanuals
10-01-2015, 07:40 PM
Just another valid reason for a wall, the lower 47 don't need this sort of thing........

That's for sure. They have their own problems.

The highest food stamp usage in America is in Owsley County, Kentucky which is 99.22% white & 95% Republican.

https://scontent-dfw1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/71539_581381251954933_958632623_n.jpg?oh=4f0bd951e 41f702c1e1979b00d26de1f&oe=569B2DCF

Paul Pless
10-01-2015, 07:42 PM
How did I miss your thread about this? We're there pictures?

;)yup

WszystekPoTrochu
10-01-2015, 07:45 PM
Are they using same disinfectants?

BrianW
10-01-2015, 08:59 PM
That's for sure. They have their own problems.

The highest food stamp usage in America is in Owsley County, Kentucky which is 99.22% white & 95% Republican.

https://scontent-dfw1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/71539_581381251954933_958632623_n.jpg?oh=4f0bd951e 41f702c1e1979b00d26de1f&oe=569B2DCF

Which only goes to prove that legislation that may negatively impact 'welfare' in all it's forms, is not a racism issue.

BrianW
10-01-2015, 09:01 PM
you know that detroit has the largest arab population of any city in the united states? and it has been thus since before wwii. . .

I do, as you've shared it here before.

How about Flint?

Dan McCosh
10-02-2015, 07:59 AM
you know that detroit has the largest arab population of any city in the united states? and it has been thus since before wwii. . . Actually, that's metropolitan Detroit, including the suburbs. Probably less well known is that most of these Arabs are Catholic.

Norman Bernstein
10-02-2015, 08:15 AM
Which only goes to prove that legislation that may negatively impact 'welfare' in all it's forms, is not a racism issue.

....and you're trying to argue that the data from a single county in Kentucky 'proves' this?

Brian, you may be a hell of a helicopter mechanic.... but you sure as hell don't know anything about statistics.

Paul Pless
10-02-2015, 08:24 AM
Actually, that's metropolitan Detroit, including the suburbs. Probably less well known is that most of these Arabs are Catholic.I didn't know that. I do know that the Arab and the Muslim community in Detroit is generally very well regarded, respected, and value by many in the city and region.

Keith Wilson
10-02-2015, 08:33 AM
There was a story about it on NPR, All things Considered IIRC. Sounds unpleasant.

Brian's doing fine without any help. Neither the original snarky post about Owsley County nor his snarky response to it demonstrate anything statistically, and both he and cc know that.

WszystekPoTrochu
10-02-2015, 09:50 AM
....and you're trying to argue that the data from a single county in Kentucky 'proves' this?

Brian, you may be a hell of a helicopter mechanic.... but you sure as hell don't know anything about statistics.

It makes sense to think something is faulty after a single incident when one is a mechanic

Phillip Allen
10-02-2015, 10:00 AM
Missing from this tale is the fact that Flint is one of the cities that have been run by so-called emergency financial managers, which means that the elected local officials have been replaced by political appointments made by the state's governor. One of the decisions made by the appointee was to pump water out of the Flint River rather than pay for water from the regional water system operated by the City of Detroit. This was an effort to save money, by cutting the cost of the water. Might note a similar decision made another of the governor's appointees led to cutting off flush toilets in 10,000 occupied homes in the City of Detroit. Another one made by another of the governor's appointees meant eliminating Flint's police department. Another led to eliminating the fire department in Muskegon Heights, replacing the fire truck with a pickup holding a tank of water and a pump. The Muskegon Heights manager is now Flint's city manager. Another manager has eliminated the only high school in Highland Park, Michigan. The larger picture here is eliminating the elected governments in the poorest, areas of the state, occupied mainly by African Americans, and replacing them with politically appointed business connections.

I wonder if the saving in water costs was passed on to the customer? or is government in business to make a profit?

Paul Pless
10-02-2015, 10:09 AM
I wonder if the saving in water costs was passed on to the customer? or is government in business to make a profit?The savings in water costs were not projected to create any profit or much savings to pass along to the consumer. You may have missed that Flint has been in serious decline for three plus decades, since the closure of a major GM facility located there. There is no 'profitable' revenue stream of any kind available to the Flint government.

Phillip Allen
10-02-2015, 10:21 AM
The savings in water costs were not projected to create any profit or much savings to pass along to the consumer. You may have missed that Flint has been in serious decline for three plus decades, since the closure of a major GM facility located there. There is no 'profitable' revenue stream of any kind available to the Flint government.

what have the unions had to say about that?

Osborne Russell
10-02-2015, 11:00 AM
Immediately there were complaints from residents about the taste, smell, overall quality of the water, including skin problems when used for bathing. Now they're finding elevated lead levels in the drinking water, to potentially dangerous levels.

Today the bomb was dropped. The switch to Flint source water is yielding highly corrosive water, which is eating away the pipes in Flint releasing lead and other metals. A bigger issue long term than the lead is that the corrosiveness has shortened the life of the entire Flint water sytem by more than eleven years and will cost the city up to $5 billion dollars in repairs and maintenance.

So the new water is cheaper how?

Katherine
10-02-2015, 11:05 AM
So the new water is cheaper how?
It was supposed to save them from having to pay the City of Detroit for water. Detroit's raised the water prices substantially in the past few years.

Dan McCosh
10-02-2015, 01:21 PM
So the new water is cheaper how? Detroit's water department supplies roughly a third of the state's water. It has been common for municipalities outside the city itself to mark up the rates and shift local costs of government to the water bill. This sometimes allowed them to generate revenue in excess of the state-set limitations on property taxes. That said, the Detroit water department has a large debt load, due in part to extensive investments in federally mandated treatment facilities, an excess of capacity, unfunded pensions, and general administrative inefficiencies. The result is high rates in the midst of the largest supply of fresh water on the planet. The answer in the minds of some has been to built what amounts to a fourth major water system, start financing it from scratch, and disconnect some of the users from the existing water system. Flint, under the direction of a state-appointed financial manager, signed up for the new system, and disconnected the city from the old one years before the new one will be completed. The interim source of water is pumping it out of a polluted river that flows through the city. The stink and crud that came out of the taps was the result. To be sure, this is apparently preferable to carrying water back to your house in buckets from the same river, I guess. If it seems primitive, it is. The Romans were pretty good at running a water system. So was Detroit in the 1930s. So were the Toltecs in Mexico, in the fourth century. Real estate developers in the U.S, today, not so much. It's worth noting that Michigan's governor is a successful businessman who feels that pragmatic business practices are superior to inefficient elected government. Sound familiar?

Osborne Russell
10-03-2015, 12:09 PM
Sound familiar?

Man, you're hitting it hard.

"high rates in the midst of the largest supply of fresh water on the planet . . . "

Yeah, it took a few minutes to imagine the map and think, wait a minute, the Great Frickin Lakes . . .

Why is building the fourth system a good idea in the minds of some? Shortest distance from source to tap sounds good to me. You people poke the ground with a shovel and get water, just about. Why is huge infrastructure necessary? That's for deserts, like the Toltecs, and over-population, like Rome.

Gerarddm
10-03-2015, 02:31 PM
There was a short piece on NPR's All Things Considered about this the other day.

Dan McCosh
10-03-2015, 02:47 PM
Man, you're hitting it hard.

"high rates in the midst of the largest supply of fresh water on the planet . . . "

Yeah, it took a few minutes to imagine the map and think, wait a minute, the Great Frickin Lakes . . .

Why is building the fourth system a good idea in the minds of some? Shortest distance from source to tap sounds good to me. You people poke the ground with a shovel and get water, just about. Why is huge infrastructure necessary? That's for deserts, like the Toltecs, and over-population, like Rome.At the heart of the problem is that housing, including some major developments, preceded any planning for a water supply. Houses in the country can, indeed, be supplied by a well. When a city with a population of two million expands to four and a half million in a decade or so--as Detroit did in the 1960s, a regional water authority would have made sense. Instead, roughly 100 small units of government often went their own way. Belatedly, sewage systems were installed, the water supply expanded, then was torn up and rebuilt and a second intake run out under Lake Huron. This pattern allowed the original developers to sell housing without the cost of a functioning water system, and the area has been paying the price for decades. The latest politics involves blaming everything on a mythical "Detroit", which lets the major players off the hook. One can, indeed, live with a well and septic tank, but it gets a little stinky if five million people attempt this at the same time in the same place.

Osborne Russell
10-05-2015, 01:42 PM
At the heart of the problem is that housing, including some major developments, preceded any planning for a water supply. Houses in the country can, indeed, be supplied by a well. When a city with a population of two million expands to four and a half million in a decade or so--as Detroit did in the 1960s, a regional water authority would have made sense. Instead, roughly 100 small units of government often went their own way. Belatedly, sewage systems were installed, the water supply expanded, then was torn up and rebuilt and a second intake run out under Lake Huron. This pattern allowed the original developers to sell housing without the cost of a functioning water system, and the area has been paying the price for decades. The latest politics involves blaming everything on a mythical "Detroit", which lets the major players off the hook. One can, indeed, live with a well and septic tank, but it gets a little stinky if five million people attempt this at the same time in the same place.

I see.

One thing commonly overlooked in this context -- which includes sewer and solid waste disposal as well as water -- is the political structure of things, i.e. whatever economies of scale are technically achievable are flushed down the drain by the costs of political struggles. Keep it small, keep it simple, keep it under local political control, is my advice. At the very least, when these jokers start talking about issuing bonds, look out.

bamamick
10-05-2015, 03:10 PM
It was featured on NPR again this morning.

Mickey Lake

Dan McCosh
10-16-2015, 08:26 AM
An update on this issue: The state has appropriated about $10 million to re-connect Flint (temporarily?) to the Detroit water system.
Also, it turns out that GM, which operates an engine manufacturing plant in Flint, had refused to go along with the plan to pump the state-run city's water out of the Flint River GM says the Flint water was corroding the engine blocks in the factory, and stayed connected to the Detroit regional system.