I keep thinking about Flint and its river. (Who wouldn’t?) Fort Wayne gets its water from a fairly dodgy river; so does Columbus, and I’d bet there are cities all over the country with a water source that isn’t exactly bubbling out of a pristine mountain spring. The Midwest is the country’s breadbasket, and what drains off its farm fields and into its rivers is decidedly…unpleasant, chemically speaking.
But all is not lost. You can make all kinds of water safe to drink with proper treatment. A lot of attention is being paid to how and why the city switched its source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. That’s important, but the problem is that the water wasn’t properly treated. As beb has pointed out, adding anti-corrosives to municipal water supplies to control lead leaching has been standard operating procedure for decades. Someone fell down on that job, for sure.
Another oddity: For all the talk of the “poisoned river,” most of the lead comes through your service pipes, i.e., the line between your house and the main line running down the street. The older the house, the more likely you are to have lead or lead-soldered service pipes. So the lead exposure, in Flint, tended to be concentrated in older housing, rather than widely scattered.
You think of all the things in old, crumbing neighborhoods, in old, crumbling cities — all the things that can hurt you. You don’t think of the water.
How was your day? Or your last couple of days? Mine were uneven. Gave blood, worked late. For the first time ever, the nurse had to…dig a little for the vein, even though it was standing out like a good little soldier. It was an oops moment for her, but now I have a sexy bruise for a couple of days. Forgiveness for the spotty appearance here, please. The last couple of days have been a little hectic at work, for obvious reasons:
Crazy week for all Michigan publications. Traffic off the charts, people looking for something, anything, about Flint. To answer a few of your questions: Yes, the Rude Pundit pretty much made hash of that moronic National Review editorial, although there is blame to be assigned to Democrats, for sure, especially at the EPA. Republican scribes are helpfully referring to this agency as “Obama’s EPA.” Bottom line: Complicated story, complex explanations. I thank you all, especially beb and BigHank, for your smart and informed comments on water chemistry and treatment issues.
So, let’s limp to the bloggage and the end of the week, then.
A good Flint timeline/explainer. One of several.
The ancient roots of man’s best friend.
Naked men in locker rooms, and how journalists interact with them.
A “manosphere” denizen gets his. Deservedly so.
Good weekend, all.