Benton Harbor Water Crisis Dangerously Similar to Flint
Benton Harbor residents may not have safe drinking water for another year and a half.
Much like the Flint, Michigan water crisis, Benton Harbor is dealing with high levels of lead in their drinking water. And, much like Flint residents, the people of Benton Harbor are asking why they're just finding out about the very unsafe water years after local authorities became aware of the problem. There is one big difference between the two major safety issues. That would be the action of the state of Michigan. ABC 7 Chicago reports that Governor Gretchen Whitmer demanded all hands on deck last week,
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday ordered a "whole-of-government" response to elevated levels of lead in tap water in the southwestern Michigan city of Benton Harbor and vowed to accelerate the replacement of its lead pipes.
Eighteen months without clean water for consumption sounds ridiculous. However, the original estimate was a jaw-dropping 5-year plan. Imagine learning that you've been cooking your food, brushing your teeth, and drinking water with dangerous levels of lead for years. Now, truckloads of bottled water are being shipped to Benton Harbor to help residents thru this Flint-like situation.
The question being asked by the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee is one we're all wanting an answer to. How long did the Michigan state government know about the lead issue? Michigan lawmakers are digging in according to The Detroit News,
The request for records from Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy came Monday. It's an initial signal the GOP-controlled Legislature plans to probe the water crisis in the southwest Michigan city of about 10,000 residents.
Inside of the 3 years that officials knew of the high lead levels measure have been taken according to the New York Times,
They have sent out notices, distributed filters and tried to improve water treatment. But the problems persisted, and some residents said they never heard about the risks of the toxic water coming from their taps.
However, when you ask residents, many of them will tell you they just found out about the unsafe water.