Flint Water Crisis Fast Facts – CNN.com


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CNN)Here is a look at the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where cost-cutting measures led to tainted drinking water that contained lead and other toxins.

Flint, located 70 miles north of Detroit, is a city of 98,310, where 41.2% of residents live below the poverty line and the median household income is $24,862, according to the US Census Bureau. The median household income for the rest of Michigan is $49,576. The city is 56.6% African-American.

Flint once thrived as the home of the nation’s largest General Motors plant. The city’s economic decline began during the 1980s, when GM downsized its sprawling industrial complex.

In 2011, the state of Michigan took over Flint’s finances after an audit projected a $25 million deficit. Even though Flint’s water supply fund was $9 million in the red, officials were using some of this money to cover shortfalls in its general fund. A receivership ended in April 2015, when the water fund was declared solvent and the remaining deficit was eliminated by an emergency loan.


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    In order to reduce the water fund shortfall, the city switched water sources in 2014. While a new pipeline connecting Flint with Lake Huron was under construction, the city turned to the Flint River as a water source during the two-year transition.


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    The Flint River had been the city’s primary water source decades earlier, but Flint switched to Lake Huron in 1967, purchasing its supply through the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

    Contaminated Water Supply:
    Historically, the water in the Flint River downstream of Flint has been of poor quality, and was severely degraded during the 1970s, due to “the presence of fecal coliform bacteria, low dissolved oxygen, plant nutrients, oils, and toxic substances.” In 2001, the state ordered the monitoring and cleanup of 134 polluted sites within the Flint River watershed, including industrial complexes, landfills and farms laden with pesticides and fertilizer.

    According to a class-action lawsuit, the state Department of Environmental Quality was not treating the Flint River water with an anti-corrosive agent, in violation of federal law. The river water was found to be 19 times more corrosive than water from Detroit, which was from Lake Huron, according to a study by Virginia Tech.

    Since the water wasn’t properly treated, lead from aging service lines to homes began leaching into the Flint water supply after the city tapped into the Flint River as its main water source.




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