Problems that led to Flint water crisis must not be repeated, says US environmental health
Mar 08, 2016 12:34 AM EST
In the wake of the crisis in Flint, Michigan, top US environmental health said the problems that led to water crisis must not be repeated in other cities and states. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency of the US sent letters to water regulators and governors across the nation which promise greater enforcement of policies to protect the people from drinking water that is contaminated with lead.
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy told government leaders at the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference that 'the situation has to change' and that a national conversation should be made to ensure that such crisis will never happen again. Reuters reported that the Flint crisis was triggered when an emergency city manager installed by Gov. Rick Snyder switched the city's water supply from Lake Huron to Flint River in order for the government to save money.
The switch corroded Flint's old pipelines and released lead and other harmful toxins into the water supply, which exposed thousands of residents including children to high lead levels. Drinking water that is contaminated with lead poses serious health problems.
EPA has also been criticized by some for not intervening more quickly after learning of high levels of lead in at least one home last February. Detroit Free Press reported that EPA has maintained that it worked within the framework of the law to urgently and repeatedly communicate the procedures the state needed to properly treat Flint's water.
EPA outlined its plans in two letters sent on Monday, says USA Today. One of the letters is from Gina McCarthy to governors in 49 states, while the second is from Deputy Assistant Administrator Joel Beauvais in the EPA Office of Water addressed to the state regulators.
Fixing the US water infrastructure amounts to more than $600 billion over the next three decades, says EPA. The agency plans to meet with all US state top water officials as the agency prepares to implement new regulations on copper and lead in drinking water.