The Flint Michigan water crisis

Roger Walter

Reading — Intermediate Level
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Read the article and select the correct answer to the questions below

Flint is one of Michigan's largest cities. In April, 2014, Flint changed its water sourced from the treated Detroit Water and Sewage Department water to the Flint River. The corrosive Flint River water caused lead from aging pipes to seep into the water supply. This has caused lead contamination and a serious public health danger. Anywhere from 6,000 to 12,000 children have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead. The contamination may also be the cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease (an atypical form of pneumonia), which has caused the death of at least 10 people and affected another 77.

Public outcry has lead to a number civil lawsuits and the resignation of a number of government officials. On January 5, 2016, the city was declared to be in a state of emergency by the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder. Shortly after, President Obama declared it as a federal state of emergency. He authorized help from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the Department of Homeland Security less than two weeks later. FEMA has provided Flint residents with bottled water and water filters until a solution comes about. It is estimated that fixing the corroded pipes and water infrastructure could cost up to $1.5 billion and could take up to 15 years to complete. The United Way of Genesee County (a charity organization) has pledged to raise $100 million over a 10-15 year span to provide children who have been exposed to lead poisoning with medical treatment.

The water disaster has called attention to the problem of aging water infrastructure nationwide. More cities across Michigan have since found children with elevated blood-lead levels. Certain areas of the state (particularly low-income areas with older housing stock) continue to experience lead poisoning, mostly from lead paint in homes built before 1978 and lead residue in dust and soil.
  1. What caused this recent water crisis in Flint Michigan?

  2. What is NOT a repercussion of the contamination?

  3. How did declaring Flint in a federal state of emergency help?

  4. What others areas of Michigan are most affected by lead contamination?

  5. How long could it take for this problem to be resolved?

  6. Until the infrastructure has been entirely renovated, the government encourages residents to:


Practice your writing skills by discussing the questions below

  1. If you were a resident of Flint, how would you feel about this water crisis?

  2. Would you move to another place if the water where you live became contaminated?

  3. Do think the US government is reacting well to this crisis? What more do you think could be done?

    Roger Walter

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