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Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan - What Happened?


DonRocks
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If you, like me, knew virtually nothing about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, except that you've been hearing murmurings about it on the news, this is a good article to start with - it's written at the level which assumes you know nothing:

"How Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan Became Federal State of Emergency" by Jessica Durando on usatoday.com

"Who Poisoned Flint, Michigan" by Stephen Roderick on rollingstone.com

People do not realize how *expensive* it is to maintain our infrastructure. I worked with the wastewater section folks at EPA for a few years, and I got snippets of just how important drinking water (as opposed to wastewater really is). Don't get me wrong, they're both important - you don't want untreated wastewater to be spewing out into our rivers and bays, but both of these involve underground pipes, and that is *very* expensive to implement, and many of the materials currently used for those pipes are decaying and decrepit, not to mention downright dangerous in some cases. CSOs (Combined Sewer Overflows) are both dangerous and disgusting during heavy rains, but that's another topic entirely - when I was there, long ago, estimates were so high to fix everything up to standards that it was all considered "pie in the sky." But things like this are what happens if you don't.

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If you, like me, knew virtually nothing about this problem, except that you've been hearing murmurings about it on the news, this is a good article to start with - it's written at the level which assumes you know nothing:

"How Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan Became Federal State of Emergency" by Jessica Durando on usatoday.com

"Who Poisoned Flint, Michigan" by Stephen Roderick on rollingstone.com

People do not realize how *expensive* it is to maintain our infrastructure. I worked with the wastewater section folks at EPA for a few years, and I got snippets of just how important drinking water (as opposed to wastewater really is). Don't get me wrong, they're both important - you don't want untreated wastewater to be spewing out into our rivers and bays, but both of these involve underground pipes, and that is *very* expensive to implement, and many of the materials currently used for those pipes are decaying and decrepit, not to mention downright dangerous in some cases. CSOs (Combined Sewer Overflows) are both dangerous and disgusting during heavy rains, but that's another topic entirely - when I was there, long ago, estimates were so high to fix everything up to standards that it was all considered "pie in the sky." But things like this are what happens if you don't.

Rachel Maddow, to her credit, has been talking about this issue for a while.  The Rolling Stone article, as usual, is excellent.  This happens when the people in control combine a don't-care, ideologically-driven attitude with plain incompetence. The lead was always in the pipes -- the problem is that the chemicals used to clean the remarkably bad Flint River water leached it out.  Flint should have never been switched away from its previous and perfectly good Detroit source; it is a massive failure of governance at many levels of government, vertical and horizontal.  When you vote in [right-wing goons NO! DR] like Rick Snyder this is what you risk.

Some fun facts about water:

Did you know that there are orders of magnitude more molecules in a drop of water than there are drops of water on the entire planet?  Combine this with the fact that all water throughout the world is constantly being mixed up, what comes out is the fact that there's a good chance every drink of water you take, even fossil water, has molecules that have passed through the bodies of practically every human (and indeed every creature) who has ever lived.  So you are ineluctably connected in some way with Jesus C., Adolph H., and everyone else.  Something to think about.

Did you know that over 20% of the world's not-frozen fresh surface water resides in one single lake that most people have never heard of, Lake Baikal in Siberia?  Baikal blows away the Great Lakes in terms of water volume.

Did you know that, if the story of Noah's Flood is true, and the flood covered the earth (presumably the highest mountain on earth), then, with what we now know, the depth of the flood would have to have been at least 29,000 feet above sea level?  That would require roughly a tripling of the amount of water on the earth, which would have had to come from somewhere, in only 40 days of raining (calculate the rate of that rainfall).  Equally importantly, it would have had to drain off somewhere.  Where exactly that somewhere is is less clear. Keep in mind that the total volume of water on Earth is not known to have changed much or at all for millions of years -- the same water just keeps circulating around.  This is the type of thing that makes one wonder about those who believe literally what they read in certain books.

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The debate rages over whether more taxes are needed from everyone or whether we should tax the rich or whether we should cut social programs or whether we should cut the military budget, or....whatever

It is a given that the budget for every public "thing" that we expect has dwindled to the point that just about 100% of it goes for keeping things running on a daily basis & that there are no longer funds available for prevention, upgrade or even meaningful maintenance or upkeep.

So, for example, when a major snowstorm hit NYC several years ago, everyone was in an uproar over why so few roads were cleared in neighborhoods in any timely manner. City government apologized & took a hit, as if it was mismanagement. What they didn't want to say is that, over time, the fleet of trucks in working order was down to pretty much what was needed to manage in normal situations and that the "reserves" no longer existed. In fact, the older equipment had been cannibalized to keep things going. No extra equipment was available to put on the road. Easier to convince everyone that someone had dropped a ball than to admit to a system that is no longer capable of meeting real needs.

The funds needed to restore Flint's water system will have to come from somewhere & my guess is that no politician will ever admit what other thing(s) go unfunded to provide some of those funds. And my cynical self believes that most folks just want it taken care of while they go about the business of arguing their own ideological positions in an abstract manner.

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Rachel Maddow, to her credit, has been talking about this issue for a while.  The Rolling Stone article, as usual, is excellent.  This happens when the people in control combine a don't-care, ideologically-driven attitude with plain incompetence. The lead was always in the pipes -- the problem is that the chemicals used to clean the remarkably bad Flint River water leached it out.  Flint should have never been switched away from its previous and perfectly good Detroit source; it is a massive failure of governance at many levels of government, vertical and horizontal.  When you vote in [right-wing goons NO! DR] like Rick Snyder this is what you risk.

Some fun facts about water:

Did you know that there are orders of magnitude more molecules in a drop of water than there are drops of water on the entire planet?  Combine this with the fact that all water throughout the world is constantly being mixed up, what comes out is the fact that there's a good chance every drink of water you take, even fossil water, has molecules that have passed through the bodies of practically every human (and indeed every creature) who has ever lived.  So you are ineluctably connected in some way with Jesus C., Adolph H., and everyone else.  Something to think about.

Did you know that over 20% of the world's not-frozen fresh surface water resides in one single lake that most people have never heard of, Lake Baikal in Siberia?  Baikal blows away the Great Lakes in terms of water volume.

Did you know that, if the story of Noah's Flood is true, and the flood covered the earth (presumably the highest mountain on earth), then, with what we now know, the depth of the flood would have to have been at least 29,000 feet above sea level?  That would require roughly a tripling of the amount of water on the earth, which would have had to come from somewhere, in only 40 days of raining (calculate the rate of that rainfall).  Equally importantly, it would have had to drain off somewhere.  Where exactly that somewhere is is less clear. Keep in mind that the total volume of water on Earth is not known to have changed much or at all for millions of years -- the same water just keeps circulating around.  This is the type of thing that makes one wonder about those who believe literally what they read in certain books.

Interesting and to her credit info about Maddow. I neither follow her or msnbc so I was unaware and it appears those reports didn't spread. Tx for the info.

As to water---very unappetizing description

As to your debunking the story of Noah's ark~~damn you. Always liked that story.

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Oh Jesus I read the 2 Rolling Stone stories. They should have the pols and the families of the pols who dicked the population of Flint be required to take in lead poisoned water for 600 days or so, the time frame of this tragic crisis. They created a health crisis that will live with individuals for their lives. What a horrific event.

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This ranks up there with Jeb's "knowing what we know now, I still would have invaded Iraq" comment.

Well, why not? Hussein tried to assassinate his father. Wasn't that the motivation all along?

(In all seriousness, I have *always* thought this to be the motivation, but obviously there's no way for me to substantiate it, or even try, without being dismissed as a Looney Tune.)

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Did you know that, if the story of Noah's Flood is true, and the flood covered the earth (presumably the highest mountain on earth), then, with what we now know, the depth of the flood would have to have been at least 29,000 feet above sea level?  That would require roughly a tripling of the amount of water on the earth, which would have had to come from somewhere, in only 40 days of raining (calculate the rate of that rainfall).  Equally importantly, it would have had to drain off somewhere.  Where exactly that somewhere is is less clear. Keep in mind that the total volume of water on Earth is not known to have changed much or at all for millions of years -- the same water just keeps circulating around.  This is the type of thing that makes one wonder about those who believe literally what they read in certain books.

May I safely assume you aren't referring to "On The Origin of Species?"

And it wasn't *Noah's* flood; the poor guy just built a boat.

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May I safely assume you aren't referring to "On The Origin of Species?"

And it wasn't *Noah's* flood; the poor guy just built a boat.

That would be a safe assumption.  I was referring to a book that I won't name but is often found in your hotel nightstand, and is thumped a lot by office seekers, particularly in the South.

"Noah's flood" is a widely used term:  often in the (extensive) literature about the so-called Great Flood, those writing on the subject refer to it that way, perhaps for convenience.  Oh, and neither Noah or anyone else ever built such a boat, but let's not go there.

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That would be a safe assumption.  I was referring to a book that I won't name but is often found in your hotel nightstand, and is thumped a lot by office seekers, particularly in the South.

"Noah's flood" is a widely used term:  often in the (extensive) literature about the so-called Great Flood, those writing on the subject refer to it that way, perhaps for convenience.  Oh, and neither Noah or anyone else ever built such a boat, but let's not go there.

Yes, let's not. We've got to keep pure politics and pure religion off this website - it's fine to discuss either one of them in historical or academic terms, but *anything* that could devolve into a political or religious argument belongs on other websites, and this is one (and the pretty much the only) thing I have to be dictatorial about; otherwise, all hell will break loose (I'm going to delete my post, which was meant to be in good humor (I think you know that)).

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