Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan declared a state of emergency for the Flint area on
Tuesday as concerns grew about the health effects of lead- tainted water there. . . .
Flint, which had long received water from Lake Huron provided by Detroit’s water
utility, began drawing its water from the Flint River in 2014 in an effort to save money
while a new pipeline was built. Residents soon complained about rashes and strange
odors from the river water, but city and state officials mostly insisted that it was safe
to drink. Last year, elevated levels of lead were found in children’s blood, and in Oc-
tober, Flint switched back to Detroit’s water system. m. smith, New York Times,
March 25, 2015
In April 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan, of the United States switched water
sources from Detroit’s water system to its own local source, the Flint River.
The water of the Flint River is not unlike that of the Mithi River. It has long
been contaminated by the effluents of industry. Nevertheless, the governor-
appointed man agers of the city made the decision primarily on cost consid-
erations. The move would save the city of Flint five million dollars a year.
By January 2015, residents of Flint began to complain of rashes, hair loss,
and sickness in public meetings with their city councilors (Detroit Free Press,
January 14, 2015). On tele vision and in national newspapers, they reported
on the color and smell of the water, complaining that it was contaminated
with fecal coliform bacteria (M. Smith 2015). City officials insisted that the
water, while smelly and colored, was safe. They used questionable protocols
to establish that it met city standards. At the same time, they also agreed to
take precautionary mea sures. The city administration doused the water with
elevated doses of chlorine and continued to distribute the toxic water to city
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