Contaminated Drinking Water in Flint, Michigan

As of Wednesday, June 3, 2015, it was found that thousands of Michigan residents are being exposed to potentially contaminated drinking water. This contaminated water could possibly pose threats to residents' health and well-being. In April 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan, which is about 70 miles northwest of Detroit, with a population of around 100,000, withdrew from the Detroit water system, and began using water from the Flint River instead.

Contaminated River Water

After this transition by the city of Flint, Michigan, safety tests were conducted, and the results showed high levels of TTHM in the drinking water, which violates the Safe Drinking Water Act. According to Think Progress, TTHM, otherwise known as trihalomethane, is a byproduct of chlorine disinfection. As reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to TTHM or consumption of the chemicals can pose significant health risks. In the past, The Flint River has had issues with poor water quality due to industrial pollution in the area.

While residents continue to pay high prices to consume unsafe water, members of Congress hope to find a legislative solution. “This is not a Detroit issue, a Highland Park issue, a Flint issue,” said Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) at the hearing. “This is a Michigan issue.” Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint) hopes the hearing will serve as a framework for future legislation to protect the Flint residents’ right to safe drinking water.

Many found out about the possible contaminated water in January, after a federal notice was sent out to Flint residents. At a hearing on Wednesday, June 5, 2015, Flint residents told the court stories of rashes and other medical problems from drinking the water. Residents complained about be forced to buy bottled water and having to take their clothes to the laundromat. According to the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department offered to reconnect Flint to its water System, but the city of Flint chose not to due to price concerns. Some say the water in the city of Flint is slowly becoming less contaminated, but one of the eight water testing sights still shows high levels of TTHM.