A New Development in the Flint Water Crisis
A few months ago there was an important U.S. Supreme Court decision. The Court ruled that residents of Flint, Michigan could sue the government. Due to lead contamination in their water.
Previously, Flint officials had proclaimed "qualified immunity" to protect themselves.
As you know, Flint is the poster child for lead contamination. A decision was made in 2014 by Flint officials to switch the city's water supply. From Lake Huron water treated in Detroit to the Flint River. It resulted in lead-contaminated water.
Sure enough, the lawsuits came in hot and heavy. And now there is a new development in this case.
$600 Million Settlement Reached
Dana Nessel is the attorney general for Michigan. She recently announced that a $600 million preliminary settlement had been reached. It's between Flint and those who sued the city.
She said a majority of the victim compensation fund will go to settling claims on behalf of children. A formal settlement is expected by early October.
Interim Co-Lead Counsels of the Class Action lawsuit say the preliminary settlement is the result of five years of litigation. And 18 months of deliberation.
Those who filed lawsuits have an option. They can accept their portion of the settlement. Or they can continue with legal action against the city.
Focus Is on Children
The settlement involves claims against the State of Michigan, officials and state workers.
The lawsuits against the federal government and two engineering firms remain in litigation. The two firms are Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman.
In her statement, Nessel said, "This settlement focuses on the children and the future of Flint.
"I hope we can begin the process of closing one of the most difficult chapters in our state's history. And writing a new one that starts with a government that works on behalf of all of its people."
Blood Reports Were Damning
For 18 months after the switch to the Flint River, many residents complained. They said their tap water was discolored. And that it smelled bad and tasted strange.
They also reported skin rashes and hair loss. As time went on, various groups tested the water. It was learned it contained dangerous levels of lead.
Far more disturbing to parents than the taste and rashes was this finding. The levels of lead in children's blood were double or triple what they had been.
The blood reports showed that 9,000 Flint children had been drinking contaminated water for 18 months.
Lead Produces Multiple Problems
Lead can cause lower IQ in children. As well as affecting physical growth and behavior. Plus contributing to anemia, hearing impairment and cardiovascular disease. It can also create serious health issues for adults.
Mona Hanna-Attisha is a Flint pediatrician. She said, "Lead is one of the most damning things you can do to a child in their entire life-course trajectory."
Local residents petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to take action. But that action ran into a wall.
A federal judge then stepped in, arranging for the delivery of bottled water. The water went to every Flint home without a properly installed and maintained faucet filter.
Changes Have Been Made
Since then, the City of Flint has completed 90 percent of its service line replacement project.
Water lines were excavated at approximately 26,000 homes. There are about 2,500 homes that still need to be checked.
Following those excavations, 9,700 lead or galvanized steel service lines were replaced. Copper lines were not replaced.
In addition, water reservoirs were renovated and expanded. A back-up water source was also built. Water mains were replaced and new household water meters were installed.
Lead Contamination Is Widespread
But the damage had already been done. The temporary settlement is being well received by most. But nothing can bring back the health of a child.
And the problem of lead in tap water is not limited to Flint. That's just one of the more high profile cases. Between 2015 and 2018, approximately 5.5 million Americans unknowingly got their water from systems exceeding the federal lead action level.
And the biggest issue is that by the time the extent of the problem is known, it's too late. We've learned we can't depend on the government to protect our water supply.
We have to take matters into our own hands if we wish to ensure that our families always have safe, clean water to drink.
That's why I'm thrilled to tell you about a revolutionary new water pitcher. It's from our friend Jeff over at Patriot Health Alliance. It's called the Patriot Pure Water Pitcher.
This pitcher filters out most heavy metals. Including lead, copper, mercury aluminum, and more. As well as radiological elements.
It gives you all the convenience of a water pitcher that fits right in your fridge. Yet it can filter out truly scary stuff that other pitcher brands fall short on removing.