The Flint, Michigan water crisis was a growing issue for many years. There have been many sustainable options that could prevent and stop this issue from arising anymore. These solutions provide benefits including clean drinking water, safe water resources and a clean water supply.
Residents in Flint are unable to use anything water related in their home. They are stuck with no type of clean water, unless they drink from the polluted water source that is flowing through their city. The city of Flint “violated the Safe Drinking Water Act four times for causing increases in E. coli, coliform bacteria and trihalomethane, a class of carcinogenic “disinfection byproducts.(Hohn).” While having no safe drinking water Flint would have a solution for this issue by providing large amounts of water bottles to be distributed to the people of Flint. Water bottles could help people with having accessibility to clean water for drinking and household activities. Clean drinking water is a necessity for a healthy life for just sustainability by creating a great quality of life. But these water bottles would only be a temporary solution because water bottles can only be used and distributed so much, families would not be provided enough to last a day. If households were even giving enough water bottles it wouldn’t be environmentally and politically sustainable. Plastic water bottles are made out of many pollutants which can cause harm to the environment and to the reproductive health. “A truly sustainable Society is one where wider questions of social needs and welfare and economic opportunity are integrally related to environmental limits imposed by supporting ecosystems.(Mclaren)” Having free water bottles readily available could be a short term solution, to help keep the residents and people of Flint safe and healthy. But this solution would not be the best for helping to create a sustainable city.
There have been many efficient ways that could be used to find a solution for the Flint, Michigan water crisis. One way the city of Flint could achieve this would be to replace all the pipes that run through the city with a more safe environmental friendly pipe that is not made out of lead. “In April 2014, Flint’s drinking water source was changed from Great Lakes’ Lake Huron to the Flint River without necessary corrosion control treatment to prevent lead release from pipes and plumbing”(Ruckart). If the city insured clean water to be pumped from the original Detroit water supply instead of the Flint river this could have solved this issue. Instead they allowed water to be pumped throughout their city from where it is not being treated properly, while allowing it to be contaminated with lead. It is found that “Flint’s hastily refurbished and understaffed treatment plant failed to add corrosion inhibitors, chemicals that coat the interior of pipes, providing a prophylactic barrier”(Hohn). While conducting an interview with a specialist in the water department, she explained how “while using a specific water source there are specific treatments that have to be done to it to keep it safe. A water department can not just switch their source without notice, this could cause damage if they do not change the treatment plan associated with that plant”. Flint needs to prepare for any change within their water source or pipes by making sure they do a lot of research and get approval. She further explains how “it’s not something you want to do without a lot of research. A lot of engineering, consulting, and especially approval from your privacy agency.” Any of these changes done could affect the public of a city in any way and by Flint doing these extra steps from the start and now they could possibly have a permanent solution to their water crisis.
With the city of Flint’s help, they could help the people of Flint to produce their own water, this would be another solution to this major water crisis. The residents of Flint would feel more safe if they were aware of if their water is safe and drinkable. “The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) passed by Congress in 1974 is to protect the nation’s public drinking water supplies and public health(Butler)”.By the CDC and government providing regulations on safe drinking water this was a step in the right direction. By providing water filters or providing wells to everyone in Flint, this would help allow them to live better and have more access to water for any needs they may need. Having justice and equity within these rules could provide the just sustainability approach that is needed to have a healthy living environment while having all members of the community involved in the crisis to make a solution of equality. A water filtration inputed in every home would provide safe drinkable water while also taking out impurities or dangerous materials such as lead, chlorine or any byproducts that may still be flowing through Flint’s water source. While still ensuring that important healthy minerals are kept. Well water could be another solution presented. It is a natural no chemical water system that has great benefits and is environmentally friendly. New water systems put in place must be eco friendly and sustainable for future generations and water filters and wells meet this just sustainability of living with ecosystems. Ensuring a great quality of life for the people of Flint.
Another solution that could be used would be to have resilience and be prepared for anything that could come. Having “resilience a type of system that is explained and categorized as an equilibrium and a threshold that may experience different types of change or times that are unknown.(Roseland)” By having resilience in place, this can help communities and even the city of Flint with preparing and dealing with crises that may be faced. If the city of Flint had this in place already and practiced this before it ever happened they could have stopped this disaster from happening all together and have protected the people who had got sick from the contaminated water that flew through Flint, Michigan. The representative I interviewed even stated “I would tell you the biggest thing in the water world is. Planning ahead too. Replace or maintain things ahead of time. Basically, to be proactive, because if you’re not, emergencies become a nightmare. And Uh huh. They become very expensive.” By being ahead of a problem beforehand can save a city and their residents so much trouble. Preparation and planning is the best thing for a water department to follow. They never know what issues could arrive for a city, water is the most important thing to our world as the representative stated “but think about what you do when you get up in the morning. What’s the first thing you do? You go to the bathroom, you shower, and you can’t do a single thing in life without us.” With Flint coming up with a plan and execution that can create a safe environment for their residents will improve the quality of life of their city and could create a safe outcome of providing clean accessible drinking water.