As I look at the whole Flint Water Crisis, I am struck by the disingenuous accusations that are flying. One side would have us believe that this is all Governor Snyder’s fault. The other side points to a Mayor of Flint and his staff that no longer are in office. There is no simple easy villain in all of this. It is in fact quite complicated.
This crisis began because the city of Flint was attempting to save money from the over-charging of another municipality, the city of Detroit. Flint believed that they could save money by partnering up with a company to pull their water directly from Lake Huron. As we now know, the problem lead did not come from the Flint River but rather the pipes and joints in this aging infrastructure. It was enabled by the PH (acid vs base) property of the water from the Flint River. This acidic chemical property enabled the protective coating on the inside of these ancient water pipes to dissolve enough to allow some lead to “leach” into the water. Whom do we blame; the Governor, the State run Department of Environmental Quality or the previous Mayor of Flint for trying to save money?
The art of problem solving requires that we analyze all contributing factors prior to attempting to propose an all-inclusive solution. Let us closely examine the root cause. The City of Detroit has run a Water Department for more than two centuries. During the course of this time, it has grown to be one of the largest Water Departments in the United Sates. The DWSD serves 4,000,000 people, 40% of the population of the entire state. It is a monopoly of gigantic proportions. Imagine having a business where 40% of the state population is forced to buy this product from you in order to survive.
One of the responsibilities of government is to protect its citizens from abusive monopolies. Many states protect their citizens from Utility Companies that need to be monopolies with Public Service Commissions that regulate pricing. Michigan does this with gas and electricity but not water. Why not? Representative Heise has a bill to correct this which the Governor refuses to allow a vote on. Let’s focus on the root cause of the problem. Please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caLFp9HH2i0&feature=youtu.be for further information.