We learned a little more this week about how lead ended up flowing out the taps in Flint. Researchers at the University of Michigan have released their forensic conclusions on how the crisis took shape.
The “Swiss Cheese” Evidence
Officials had put forward a claim that failure to add anti-corrosion chemicals hadn’t impacted on the eventual contamination of the water. This assertion was undermined by the researchers’ discovery of “a Swiss cheese pattern” in the aging pipework cause by corrosion.
The research team goes on to emphasize the importance of ensuring that anti-corrosion chemicals are used in all of America’s aging water systems to prevent lead-laced water reaching millions of homes. Not only that, but the anti-corrosion treatment has to be constantly monitored. Variations in the water composition – a change in the water chemistry for example – can lead to the anti-corrosion treatment becoming less effective. This potentially allows lead to dissolve into the water supply.
This was a key criticism of officials in the Flint crisis. When the controversial money-saving decision was made to switch the water supply to the Flint River, the anti-corrosion treatment process wasn’t changed. The water in the Flint River was much more corrosive than the water in Lake Huron, where the town’s water used to be sourced.
“Beyond implications for Flint, we demonstrated that small changes in water chemistry can release what was stable lead in a fairly quick pulse. This is a known condition. So while we weren’t surprised, being able to show it underscores the importance of maintaining uninterrupted lead corrosion control.”
~ Brian Ellis, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. University of Michigan
Water Ionizers Remove Contaminants
Lead is invisible and undetectable by smell or taste. Knowing that thousands of miles of America’s water pipelines are cracked and aging – as in Flint – this report raises a red flag. Can water officials across America guarantee the water systems on their watch are being properly and constantly monitored?
Knowing that 33 US cities breached EPA guidelines on safe water testing doesn’t fill anyone with confidence.
Ionized Water – Naturally Delicious
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