Since August is the month that usually wraps up the summer, it is filled with last minute family trips to go enjoy the Great Lakes and streams that make Michigan so pleasant. It is for this reason, that sustaining water quality is so important. In fact, since the implementation of the Clean Water Act of 1972 (amended in 1977), and since an agreement was also signed in 1972 between the United States and Canada to protect and restore our Great Lakes, the water quality of the Great Lakes has improved. Another Michigan water quality problem that has not improved however, is the Flint Water Crisis.
Flint Water Crisis
Citizens of Flint, Michigan have been without proper drinking water since 2014. According to The Detroit News, tests taken last year in August of 2016 showed that lead contaminants have been reduced to almost federal standards, however, there are still locations with very high lead levels. Karen Weaver, Mayor of Flint, believes that it will take two more years for Flint’s water to be drinkable. From July to the end of 2016, 90% of Flint lead levels have been around 12 parts per billion (ppb); the federal action level is 15 parts per billion.
Michael C. McDaniel, retired Brigadier General, stated that he wishes to see Flint residents use water filters until lead levels consistently test below 10 ppb. To reach the lower lead levels, over 20,000 pipelines must be replaced. McDaniel says the total cost for pipeline replacement will be $100 million. Mayor Weaver stated that replacing the pipes could take 3 years, that is, if they have enough funds. Over the three year period, the city has enough money to fund pipe replacements for 2017, about half the money for replacements in 2018, but not enough money for 2019.
As of March 2017, Flint has replaced around 800 pipes, but plans to accelerate pipe replacement and have around 18,000 replaced by the end of 2019, if it can receive the amount of funds necessary. Leading up to March, Congress funded Flint a total of around $253 million, and this number only continues to grow. So thankfully, the likelihood that Flint will receive enough funds to replace 18,000 pipelines seems positive.
Tips For Sustaining Clean Water
Flint is showing positive strides in its improvement of the city’s water quality, but there are still obstacles to clear. Hopefully the city will be able to obtain the funds they need and execute the replacement of pipelines faster than they have thus far, through 2017. The overarching issue however, is that no city, or more importantly, individual should be deprived of clean water. Also, improving water quality is only half the battle. Sustaining clean water and protecting it from pollution can sometimes prove even more difficult. In honor of National Water Quality Month, below are some tips provided by Natural Choice that homeowners can use to help sustain clean water in their community:
- Do not flush non-degradable products down the toilet. These products can damage the sewage treatment process. Also, do not flush medications down the toilet because they can prove harmful to the water supply.
- Avoid using pesticides and other fertilizers on your yard, as they can pollute ground water. Instead, use natural fertilizers such as bone meal or peat.
- Avoid using antibacterial soap because these soaps are known to have pesticides that can damage marine life.
- The only thing that should go down storm drains is water because the drains flush out into waterways.
- Make sure to clean up after your pets because their waste can fall into storm drains.
- Stay up to date with your local water quality report and see how you can improve the water quality within your community.
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