Today marks the half-year mark since Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder publicly admitted that Flint had a problem with lead in its drinking water. Since that time, he’s continuously told us he and his administration are doing everything possible to fix the problem. “Everything”, however, does not include the removal of a single lead pipe through the efforts of his administration.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver had been trying to get the lead pipes removed and had an ambitious goal of removing the lead water service lines in 30 homes in the first 30 days of her “Fast Start” program. However, thanks largely to a lack of cooperation from the Snyder administration, only 14 homes have seen their lead pipes replaced. Gov. Snyder continues to “remain positive” and to say, “[W]e’re going to get rid of lead pipes. I’ve said it multiple times.”
We’re still waiting for that to happen, Governor. It’s been six months. It’s time to end the relentless positive smoke blowing and get to work.
In other news, it turns out that there was one main impediment to Flint officials adding phosphate corrosion treatment to their new water source, the Flint River, an impediment that has nothing to do with the terrible – and illegal, as we’ve since learned – advice they got from the state Department of Environmental Quality. It turns out that they couldn’t have added the phosphate if they had wanted to because they didn’t have the equipment installed to do so:
Even if the state had ordered Flint to use corrosion controls when it switched to the Flint River for the city’s drinking water, the city would have been unable to do so because it lacked the necessary equipment.
And installing the equipment would have taken up to six months, Flint Utility Director Mike Glasgow told state lawmakers on Tuesday.
Here’s more from WZZM13:
[T]estimony at a legislative hearing this week from the city’s utilities chief may help explain: When Flint began to pump drinking water from the Flint River, the city’s water treatment plant wasn’t capable of adding corrosion control treatment, not without equipment upgrades the broke city couldn’t afford. […]
A 2009 engineering analysis associated with the same water system detailed equipment necessary to add corrosion control at Flint’s plant: a 6,000-gallon bulk storage tank, a transfer pump and a 120-gallon day tank and chemical metering pumps.
According to MDEQ, no upgrades to corrosion-control equipment were made at the plant before it began to pump and treat Flint River water, more corrosive than the Lake Huron water it expected to use when the new system was complete.
Meanwhile, the EPA has warned state and city officials that they still lack a “comprehensive” plan to solve the lead problem in Flint:
The federal Environmental Protection Agency this week told the state and city that their ongoing efforts to prevent further corrosion of Flint pipes “do not represent a comprehensive approach to minimize lead concentrations” in drinking water, calling it a “critical” issue that must be addressed.
EPA water enforcement division director Mark Pollins, in a March 29 letter to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Keith Creagh and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, urged the city to move ahead with plans to hire a consultant for plan development.
“A consulting firm with extensive experience assessing, developing, and implementing corrosion control plans should be chosen and work should begin as soon as possible,” Pollins wrote.
This catastrophe is far from over and Flint residents continue to use bottled water to drink, wash, and clean with. And, after a half year, there is still no action from the Snyder administration on removing lead pipes in Flint.
Please, Gov. Snyder: DO SOMETHING.