The news of the water crisis in Flint, MI has communities across the country questioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While Georgia is thousands of miles from the Great Lakes State, the controversy centered on water quality is a topic any city, state and nation should never ignore.
Many of us don’t think twice when turning on the kitchen faucet or bath water every day. And yes, from time to time, we receive notice (via our local news) that our water is being shut off or that we need to boil it.
We immediately become annoyed and frustrated.
However, if we knew the potential dangers contaminated water can cause, we may be more inclined to be patient and cross-check the “drinkability” before complaining. The people of Flint are suffering—both physically and emotionally from the negligence of the EPA. In response to the water crisis, a lawsuit has been filed against a public hospital and six state employees. The lawsuit is in light of victims suffering from Legionnaires’ disease—the serious illness that leads to sickness and death for a handful of individuals.
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Geoffrey Fieger is seeking $100 million for his four clients; including a man who lost his mother to Legionnaires’ at McLaren Regional Medical Center. Over one dozen of the 87 individuals treated at McLaren have fallen ill with the disease—a form of pneumonia. Cases for these individuals are being prepared according to various news outlets.
The state of Michigan is reacting by further investigating what could have been done to prevent the spike in Legionnaires’ disease between 2014 and 2015. Many officials believe that the city’s switch to the Flint River, for their water supply, exposed residents to lead-poisoning, E.coli bacteria and other toxic chemicals.
Furthermore, the court papers blame the illnesses and deaths on a failure to treat the river water with anti-corrosion agents. Federal regulations were not met and six Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees have been targeted for neglect—two of which have been suspended.
So, now what? Can the EPA re-write their wrongs? They cannot.
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However, the Environmental Protection Agency has 30 to 40 scientists, samplers and data analytics personnel working in Flint. Among these individuals is Miguel Del Toral, a water expert, who raised a major red-flag back in June–four months before the state acknowledged the problem and six months before a state of emergency was declared.
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On a national and state level, this story should never be ignored. The health of so many has suffered and we can only hope this crisis never happens again. The safety of our water is essential to our everyday lives and we shouldn’t neglect the potential hazards it can bring down upon us if ignored.
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