Lead Contamination In Flint By: Ben and mason

What Happened?

In April 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan looked for a cheaper way to provide water for the city. Their new water supply had loads of lead and was eating the pipes causing the lead to be in the water and the piper were not going to be able to be fixed. This is significant because it effects everybody's normal life, and drinking the water is no longer safe.


June 2012- April 2013: City officials want to explore the options of switching the water supply system to save money. Flint was originally using the "Detroit Water and Sewerage Department", and then the city found an alternative. They could build its own pipeline and connect to the "Karegnondi Water Authority". This option had potential to save the region $200 million over the span of 25 years. After a city official told the treasurer they were going to join the KWA, Detroit's water system terminated service to the city one year later.

The city needs a main source of water and turns towards the Flint River, the city's main water source until the 60's. There was numerous tests and studies on the river water. These tests prove to show the water is safe and drinkable. Mayor Dayne Walling announced to the city " It's regular, good, pure drinking water and its right in our backyard... this is the first step in the right direction." City officials did not treat the water to confirm that it would not cause corrosion in the pipes, instead they took the "wait-and-see" approach.

Impacted Species:

Children- To understand this problem, it is basically drinking water through a lead coated straw, and as you drink, lead particles flake off into the water, then into your body. Flint's children have been suffering through this for almost two years. The "take action" for lead levels is 10 parts per billion. In tests, some 1,300 homes exceeded the E.P.A level. Thirty-two had levels above 1,000 parts per billion. These young children can suffer permanent health effects, affecting the development of the brain and nervous system. Children under the ago of six show an increased risk for damage by the water.

Plants- Plants on land tend to absorb the water from the ground and since the water in contaminated, these plants are all taking in lead water. The water then moves to other parts of the plant. This doesn't make a big affect on plants because they have calcium and phosphate in the soil to reduce lead contamination. Lead in the air may be transferred to plants directly through fallout or indirectly through the soil.

Dogs- Dogs can go through both sudden and long-term affects from exposure to the metal. Lead damages the cell and affects normal biological processes. Lead poisoning is more common in young animals and in dogs living in poor areas. Symptoms for lead poisoning mostly relate with the digestive system and central nervous system. Some symptoms include, vomiting, poor appetite, seizures, and many more.


Michigan will replace 18,000 lead tinted pipes by 2020 to fix and end the water problem permanently. This is going to cost $87 million to fix and replace.

The city can use orthophosphate (phosphoric acid) to line the pipes to stop the lead from coming into the water and into buildings.

Filters can be put on the ends of the pipes to collect the lead and stop it from going into the pipes. This method will have to be checked on a timely basis to collect the lead and replace the filter.


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Kennedy, Merrit. "Lead-Laced Water In Flint: A Step-By-Step Look At The MakingsOf A Crisis." NPR, 20 Apr. 2016, www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/20/465545378/lead-laced-water-in-flint-a-step-by-step-look-at-the-makings-of-a-crisis. Accessed 11 Apr. 2017.

Foster, Dr. "Lead Poisoning in Dogs." Pet Education,2. http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2105&aid=1522. Accessed 14Apr. 2017.

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