Most people reading this are doubtlessly aware that our governor “screwed the pooch” over the City of Flint and exposing its people to a level of lead in their drinking water well above the maximum allowed levels. From what has been published on the issue, it appears that a “money saving” switch was made by the “financial manager” selected by Gov. Rick Snyder to a “cheaper” water supply for the city. Flint had been buying its own water from Detroit, which in turn gets it from Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes that surround the State of Michigan. Everything had been going fine except that Flint, a city “left behind” by the American auto industry, was having serious economic problems. This was why the state government had placed Flint under the supervision of a state appointed “financial manager”. Since there was every incentive to reduce costs, it was determined that the city could draw water from the Flint River cheaper than it could buy water from Detroit where it had to piped in some distance with a resulting higher price than if Flint could use local resources for its drinking water.
It appears that no one really checked out the river water to see whether there would be any problems using it as a source of drinking water. Apparently it was felt that it could be used given proper filtration, although there are a lot of questions involved here about how the water would be treated to be “safe to drink”. I’m not an expert on water treatment, but it would seem that someone should have checked out the city’s water system to see what the condition of the water would be after passing through the pipes to the actual users of the water. Flint, like many older cities, uses plumbing that uses lead solder to join its pipes together. The Romans did this a couple thousand years ago because it is easy to melt lead and it makes a good seal. However, lead is effected by acid and leaches out if exposed to acidic liquids. The Romans drank a lot of wine, often mixed with water for taste. The acid in the wine however caused the lead in their drinking vessels to leach out. Lead is one of the “heavy metals” and there is really no “safe” level for it, especially when children are concerned. It is known that it can retardation in children, and makes learning in school more difficult. There is also the problem that even changing the water supply back to that provided by Detroit doesn’t solve the problem of the dissolved lead already in the city’s water system. It can be filtered out to a certain extent, but to really get rid of the lead will require replacement of the city’s water pipes which is going to be a “major expense”. A problem in where is the money going to come from to replace these water pipes? No doubt it will be done, but it is going to be a major expense and will also take considerable time.
It appears that there was knowledge of the problem prior to its hitting the newspapers. The administration there in Lansing (MI) appears to have tried to “cover things up” by various means, including providing state employees with bottled water (water coolers) so that they didn’t have to drink the city’s regular water. A real “black eye” for the Snyder administration and one that I’m sure hasn’t helped either the state Republicans or even the national party as Flint is a black majority city whose people are very angry at both the state government and their governor along with Republicans in general.
What this all means is that when your right to select who is to govern you is taken away, and this is the case in Michigan, the consequences can be that your health and welfare is at the mercy of people who perhaps have no reason to be concerned because you have no legal power over them. That you are legally at their mercy and powerless to change things. Further proof as I’ve been showing in this blog of what happens when government decides you are incompetent to manage your own affairs and an “expert” is appointed to do so! That Flint financial manager isn’t a lot different than that of some “professional” who has the legal power to decide what you are allowed to have and what you will not be allowed to have. Unfortunately this state of affairs hasn’t yet been challenged by any one but libertarians, our two major political parties apparently considering it a settled issue.