300 Union Plumbers Invade Flint, MI to Install Free Water Filters
Food| | By Jason Owen
While the Michigan state government under Gov. Rick Snyder continues its slow response to the contaminated water crisis in Flint, a group of volunteer plumbers has decided to take matters into their own hands.
Over the weekend, 400 plumbers, including 300 union plumbers from around the country, arrived in Flint to help install new faucets that would fit the water filters the state provided to homes, Think Progress reported. Many of the homes’ faucets were so old, they could not properly attach the new filters.
According to the publication, the community aid was coordinated by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry, known commonly as the United Association. The Plumbing Manufacturers International donated the faucet fixtures.
While the fixtures will certainly help some residents, the damage done to the city runs much deeper.
On Saturday, Academy Award-winning director and Flint resident, Michael Moore, released a 10-part list of “facts” he says the media is largely ignoring about the contaminated water crisis. Moore has been one of the more outspoken voices throughout the crisis, pushing for criminal charges to be leveled against Governor Snyder, launching a petition and hashtag, “ArrestGovSnyder,” that has garnered over 500,000 signatures.
While some might view Moore’s opposition to Snyder as strictly along political lines, many – including the Governor himself – have acknowledged mistakes were made.
On Friday, the New York Times reported that state employees received purified water as early as January 2015 over concerns their water was contaminated, even as the administration told Flint residents the water was safe to drink.
Also, Auto manufacturer General Motors was given a special hookup to the Lake Huron water source when the company complained the Flint water was corroding their car parts, all while the administration was telling citizens to ignore the weird smells and discoloration in the water. The special hookup for GM cost a reported $440,000.
Numerous other reports have called into question Gov. Snyder’s role in denying the water was harmful and exactly when officials knew they were poisoning their residents.
The sad irony of this story is that the Michigan state government could have easily prevented the entire situation for as little as $9,000.
From Moore’s 10-part list:
“Federal law requires that water systems which are sent through lead pipes must contain an additive that seals the lead into the pipe and prevents it from leaching into the water. Someone at the beginning suggested to the Governor that they add this anti-corrosive element to the water coming out of the Flint River. “How much would that cost?” came the question. “$100 a day for three months,” was the answer. I guess that was too much, so, in order to save $9,000, the state government said f*** it — and as a result the State may now end up having to pay upwards of $1.5 billion to fix the mess.”
Since the water was switched, 87 people have contracted Legionnaires Disease and at least 10 have died. But the worst of the damage might not be known for years, as the effects of the lead in the contaminated water will likely take some time to manifest, especially for the 9,000 children under 6 years old who call Flint their home.