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Three Years Later, Water Specialist Says Broken Pipes, Not Lack of Water Treatment, Was Real Cause of the Flint Crisis

Bryce Feighner, DEQ Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division director, says treating the Flint’s water with phosphates wouldn’t have prevented the contamination crisis. (Photo by Neil Blake | mlive.com)

Although it’s been three years, the struggle for Flint, Mich., is far from over as the lead-tainted city is still in need of new water pipes.

The Environmental Protection Agency approved a $100-million grant for the city to fix its broken water system earlier this year, but the agency now faces a potential budget cut of 31 percent, as ordered by President Donald Trump. With that and other financial hurdles in place, it likely will be years before Flint’s pipes are repaired.

Now, new information has surfaced from a specialist claiming that the spike in water main breaks during the Polar Vortex winters of 2014 and 2015 was one of several overlooked factors that ultimately led to the Flint water crisis, according to a retiring Michigan environmental official.

 

Bryce Feighner, a water specialist and director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, claims that broken pipes were the primary cause of the water contamination crisis, arguing that treating the city’s water with orthophosohates wouldn’t have fixed the problem.

Feighner, who’s retiring to become a minister this summer, made the remarks on Thursday, April 27, during a talk at Grand Valley State University titled “Flint: What Really Happened?” MLive reported.

The outgoing official argued that an “excessive” number of water main breaks was just one of many “confounding factors that you never hear anyone talk about” in regard to the crisis. Feighner pointed to the fact that Flint experienced a total of 312 water main breaks in 2014 and 277 in 2015, but only 153 in 2013 and 138 in 2016.

 

Though elevated numbers of water main breaks are common in Midwestern cities facing back-to-back harsh winters, Feighner said Flint was hit especially hard on account of its overburdened water system and general lack of upkeep over the past 20 years.

The exclusion of a corrosion inhibitor when the city switched its water source from Detroit’s system to the highly contaminated Flint River in 2014 is what many officials believe led to the leaching of toxic chemicals into the water system, causing the contamination crisis. But Feighner disputed this claim during his talk Thursday, arguing that a phosphate might have helped control the corrosion, but “I don’t believe it would have prevented this event.”

“You can have the most perfect, noncorrosive water in world — however you choose to define that — and if you have water main breaks, extreme velocities, changes in flow directions, it’s going to strip every coating you’ve created off those pipes over the last several decades,” he said.

 

“This was a major cause of the event,” he continued.

April 25 marked the three-year anniversary of Flint’s water crisis, a public health disaster triggered by a state-appointed emergency manager’s decision to switch the city’s water source. The bitter holiday was marked with protests, as hundreds of angry demonstrators marched to Flint City Hall to make their voices heard.

 

Last week’s rally was hosted by organization FlintH2OJustice, MLive reported, during which members shared their demands: a Medicare extension to all current residents and those displaced by the water crisis, an end to resident water bills and the abolition of the state’s emergency manager system altogether.

 

“Through our banner from Standing Rock, people all over our country, all Americans, they love Flint, also,” said Pastor Bobby Jackson of Mission of Hope, who attended the protests carrying a large white sheet that read “From Standing Rock to Flint.” “We’re not invisible.”

“Everybody thinks they had it fixed … If there’s anything called fake news, the news that everything is fine in Flint is the fakest of fake news,” said CNN moderator Van Jones, who’s also the founder of Green For All, an organization aimed at building a more inclusive green economy strong enough to bring people out of poverty. “Things aren’t fine in Flint, and we’re going to deal with it ourselves.”

The organization has since launched a funding campaign for the residents of Flint titled, “#FixThePipes,” which hopes to raise $500,000 to replace pipes in hundreds of Flint homes, according to Fast Company. The estimated cost of fixing a single home’s water system is about $10,000.

Green For All’s director, Vien Truoong, said the group’s fundraising goal is not a glass ceiling. He told the tech news site that their aim is to bypass the bureaucratic process, which, in his opinion, is void of an awareness for the urgency of the situation.

Through our#FixThePipes campaign, “we thought it was important to remind people that not only are the pipes in Flint not fixed, but that the environmental justices are deeply profound in Flint, and in so many communities around the country that look like Flint,” Truong said.

During his lecture, Feighner repeatedly deflected blame for the crisis away from the state, pointing the finger at the city although multiple reports have showed the DEQ was primarily to blame. In fact, a task force assembled by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder concluded that the department’s mishandling of the crisis actually prolonged its devastating effects. Michigan’s Civil Rights Commission also issued a scathing a report in February, contending that “systemic racism” was largely to blame.

Feighner, a former chief of the waste management and radiological protection office, got involved in the city’s water crisis in late 2014, replacing Liane Shekter Smith, who was ousted as head of the drinking water office, according to MLive. Shekter Smith is one of several DEQ employees facing criminal charges in connection to the crisis.

So far, investigators have charged 13 current and former state and local officials.

When it comes to the people of Flint, Truong said, “Green For All is working to ensure that they won’t be forgotten.”

 
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"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

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DennisKalita posted:

Everyone there - leave or  plan to GTFO of hell hole Flint

That's probably what they want them to do, so that the property value can be depreciated down to $0.00, so it can be bought-up by non-Black people/business, or corporations for damn near $0.00 and quickly 'gentrified' into racially discriminating and/or unaffordable to Black/Brown people, residential and business districts.

But, if the residents of Flint are not going to fight for their right to clean, non-toxic, poison-free water, and register to vote and vote psychopaths capable of knowingly poisoning Americans citizens out of office, then they really should move, and move quick.

However, Flint, Michigan should serve as a WAKE-THE-"F"-UP!!! call for ALL of America's African Americans living in ANY predominately Black city or town or neighborhood, or district, anywhere in this country, to not onlydemand the testing of their water, and to test their water themselves, but tonot drink the water that is being pumped into their homes by a government in a nation saturated with people who HATE and want to KILL Black people in America.  

 

 

Last edited by sunnubian
sunnubian posted:
DennisKalita posted:

Everyone there - leave or  plan to GTFO of hell hole Flint

That's probably what they want them to do, so that the property value can be depreciated down to $0.00, so it can be bought-up by non-Black people/business, or corporations for damn near $0.00 and quickly 'gentrified' into racially discriminating and/or unaffordable to Black/Brown people, residential and business districts.

But, if the residents of Flint are not going to fight for their right to clean, non-toxic, poison-free water, and register to vote and vote psychopaths capable of knowingly poisoning Americans citizens out of office, then they really should move, and move quick.

However, Flint, Michigan should serve as a WAKE-THE-"F"-UP!!! call for ALL of America's African Americans living in ANY predominately Black city or town or neighborhood, or district, anywhere in this country, to not onlydemand the testing of their water, and to test their water themselves, but tonot drink the water that is being pumped into their homes by a government in a nation saturated with people who HATE and want to KILL Black people in America.  

 

 

No one’s going to build a Mar-a-Lago with lead water piped in. These poisoned people need re-location from this hell zone - yesterday. The state and federal governments should pay for this EMERGENCY . Tax cuts for the rich but no money and nowhere to go without assistance. Deadly crime on top of deadly crime.  Inaction makes it purposeful genocide.  

  I can't believe these people are still suffering.  This is the time we need our wealthy African Americans to come to the rescue.  Hell....look at all that money they lost on that fryers tour in the Bahamas?  So.  They can raise the money....easy and blackfolks there won't have to depend on massa...since he's not gonna anything anyway.  So it's up to us to take care of our own....we can do  it.  It's a no brainer.   But the question is.....will we?    I mean when I heard Dr. Dre gave all those millions to USC in Cali....I said  WTF!!!  So it can be done absolutely.  But!

DennisKalita posted:
sunnubian posted:
DennisKalita posted:

Everyone there - leave or  plan to GTFO of hell hole Flint

That's probably what they want them to do, so that the property value can be depreciated down to $0.00, so it can be bought-up by non-Black people/business, or corporations for damn near $0.00 and quickly 'gentrified' into racially discriminating and/or unaffordable to Black/Brown people, residential and business districts.

But, if the residents of Flint are not going to fight for their right to clean, non-toxic, poison-free water, and register to vote and vote psychopaths capable of knowingly poisoning Americans citizens out of office, then they really should move, and move quick.

However, Flint, Michigan should serve as a WAKE-THE-"F"-UP!!! call for ALL of America's African Americans living in ANY predominately Black city or town or neighborhood, or district, anywhere in this country, to not onlydemand the testing of their water, and to test their water themselves, but tonot drink the water that is being pumped into their homes by a government in a nation saturated with people who HATE and want to KILL Black people in America.  

 

 

No one’s going to build a Mar-a-Lago with lead water piped in. These poisoned people need re-location from this hell zone - yesterday. The state and federal governments should pay for this EMERGENCY . Tax cuts for the rich but no money and nowhere to go without assistance. Deadly crime on top of deadly crime.  Inaction makes it purposeful genocide.  

 

Of course, once the Blacks are "exterminated" Flints water will be put back on the same water system as the rest of the cities and town surrounding flint, and pipes that do not have lead leaching into the water.  

 

 

[Side:  If the people living in Flint are only being tested for Lead, they are crazy, because there wasfar more than just 'lead' in that nasty, toxic, CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, water].

Kocolicious posted:

  I can't believe these people are still suffering.  This is the time we need our wealthy African Americans to come to the rescue.  Hell....look at all that money they lost on that fryers tour in the Bahamas?  So.  They can raise the money....easy and blackfolks there won't have to depend on massa...since he's not gonna anything anyway.  So it's up to us to take care of our own....we can do  it.  It's a no brainer.   But the question is.....will we?    I mean when I heard Dr. Dre gave all those millions to USC in Cali....I said  WTF!!!  So it can be done absolutely.  But!

 

We all know that rich and wealthy African Americans are not going to do jack for their own people.  

They are just as sickening as the Black politicians, Black attorneys, and the Congressional Black Caucus, who sit around too much like little hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil trained'pets' to even speak out against the extra-judicial murders of Black males, and Black females, and even Black children in this country.  

Rich and wealthy African Americans are too busy looking the other way and too busy trying squeeze themselves in between White people, or are too busy trying to make sure someone White will inherit their money, to do anything to help their own people/African America.

Last edited by sunnubian

  @Sista Sunnubian

Unfortunately I agree with  ya my sista.  They are not gonna do "jack" like you say as why I have NEVER been star-stucked....and I live in Cali.  And see celebrities and the like all the time.  Thing is?   A  lot of blackfolks talk a lot of shyte about being black, brave, courageous and alladat.  But when it comes down to it?  They are no where around when you NEED them OR if they are around they have a focked up attitude toward their own people.  It is really SHAMEFUL.  Because all of what is currently going on?  Can be easily rectified.  We have the voices....the people to represent.  But we don't have support from wealthy/well to do blacks in our community.  Which make me BELIEVE that that brown paper bag?  Has NEVER left.  This is reminds me of what Baldwin said one time "The crown has bought all we have to do is wear."  I think a lot of blacks don't know that and there may lie the problem.  But!

Last edited by Kocolicious

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