You’d have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the condition of the water in Flint, Michigan by now. The residents of Flint have been facing a public health crisis for almost 2 years. The water flowing through the pipes is severely poisonous and contaminated with lead. Since April 2014 to residents have had to cope with improperly treated river water, which corroded the plumbing system and exposed an unknown number of people, many of them children, to toxic levels of lead. Now they are being forced to pay for their poison.
There is no clean water in the schools, hospitals or private homes. Flint officials have been handing out bottled water to residents. On January 5 Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency, finally requesting federal assistance. Americans from all corners of the U.S. have been sending bottled water to Flint.
Once the matter came to nationwide public attention all eyes turned to Flint. The memory of the water crisis in Detroit last year still is clear in many of our minds. The situation has once again sparked the conversation on whether or not clean water should be a basic human right.
Governor Snyder voluntarily released his own personal emails regarding the water crisis. An email chain started January 22, 2015 planning meetings to discuss “the flint water topic” make it plain that Flint officials were well aware of the situation at least a year ago. Former Flint Mayor Dwayne Walling and local residents were launching Facebook campaigns as early as February 2015 to try to get the governor to fix the situation as fast as possible.
If the disastrous situation is not stressful, depressing and dehumanizing enough the story actually gets more incredulous. Would you believe that residents of Flint, Michigan are still being sent water bills? If that isn’t an insult. The water in your home is poison, you can’t drink it or cook with it so we are giving out free bottled water but you still have to PAY for the filth running through your pipes. If you’re like me you’d be saying screw that bill BUT if you’re a parent you don’t really have that option.
Pay the bill for water you can’t use or have your children taken away. That is the decision Flint residents are being forced to make. Earlier this month it was announced that the the city would again start sending out shut off notices for residents who were not paying their water bills. The city’s policy is to issue shutoff notices when accounts are more than 30 days past due. Residents will only have 10 days to pay the delinquent bill before being subject to the water in their home actually being shut off. This is where it gets DEEP. If you’re home is without running water ( contaminated or not) then it is deemed uninhabitable for children. Michigan law states that a raising a child in a home without running water is deemed neglectful and is considered child endangerment. Once a home has no water the parent can be referred to social services and run the risk of losing their children.
Page 16 of Michigan’s Mandated Reporters Guide makes it clear that a home without water is considered neglectful and subject to a child abuse investigation.
Residents of Flint, Michigan have filed 2 lawsuits since November of 2015 to try to stop the bills for the undrinkable water.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKophHV8rFY]
There is a petition to try to get the governor to stop the bills at https://www.change.org/p/rick-snyder-stop-making-flint-residents-pay-for-poisoned-water