Does Flint, Michigan, have clean water yet? The answer is complicated.

    Even if the city has clean water, many people still struggle to accept that they’re being told the truth this time. 

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    One news story that dominated the media back in 2014 was the Flint water crisis. Flint, Michigan, did not have adequate water to drink and dealt with numerous detrimental side-effects from consuming it, ranging from disliking the taste of their tap water to losing some of their hair to finding high lead levels in their blood.

    Nearly 10 years later, how is Flint doing? The city has plans to keep its tap water at a consumable level, but things don’t seem to be going that easily. Eight years after the crisis initially broke, people finally found some justice after filing lawsuits against the officials who lied to them. Can they finally freely drink from the tap again?

    The dangers of Flint’s water crisis

    Flint broke the internet when its crisis went viral. As you would expect, things have changed for the better — meaning the water is technically clean — but the scars of the scandal may last far longer. 

    The city of Flint has replaced over 10,000 pipes to deal with lead in the water. New lines ensure fewer lead-related issues will arise, and now, the pipes abide by the federal Lead and Copper Rule.

    The Lead and Copper Rule ensures that residents anywhere in the United States have clean drinking water. Lead concentrations over 15 ppb are cause for concern, and the city responsible will have to take measures to mitigate this threat. It also calls for regular testing of the drinking water. This is important, given all the detrimental side-effects of drinking unclean water, including higher cholesterol and thyroid disease levels, as well as fertility issues.

    Flint ended its water bottle distribution project in 2018 once things started to improve and the water was at a safe, drinkable level again. While the tap water was deemed potable, it might’ve been too soon to end the water bottle distribution project for residents’ liking. While Flint is well on its way to putting the past behind it, this issue has lasted entirely too long and will stick in the heads of locals forever.

    The psychological effects of Flint’s water crisis

    Understandably, when someone hurts you, it might take a while for them to regain your trust fully, if they ever do. Flint is stuck in a similar situation. While the water crisis was underway, many officials told people their water was perfectly fine and drinkable when it was unsafe for human consumption.

    Residents still feel the effects of the water crisis today, even when the quality has improved and those responsible for covering up the problem are being prosecuted. That’s perfectly understandable, given the extent of the lies coming from those elected to serve the city and keep residents safe.

    As a result of this debacle, many Flint residents have reported they’re likely to never drink the water again, just in case a similar situation arises. After being lied to and told everything was fine, citizens are understandably upset and distrust the officials who are supposed to protect them. 

    Additionally, due to the long-standing mistreatment of minorities and marginalized communities, many people in those communities may feel even more hesitant to trust government officials again. 

    What does this mean for the future of Flint?

    Many people may still feel unsafe drinking water from their homes’ faucets for the foreseeable future. They may take extra measures to stay safe and avoid the health risks of consuming unclean water. The issue didn’t go away when the media stopped covering Flint’s water crisis — they’ve dealt with the lying and the trauma for nearly 10 years now. Even if the city has clean water, many people still struggle to accept that they’re being told the truth this time. 

    Hopefully, the scars of yesterday don’t stick around too long, and the people of Michigan can continue healing.

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