The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Missing Chapter of the Flint Water Crisis

Jan 18, 2016

Corporate greed and an unnecessary NEW water pipeline in the Flint area make up the missing chapter in the already horrendous story of the Flint Water crisis.

Back in 2010, business interests were pushing for the new water pipeline. The proposal was opposed by the Flint area Drain Commissioner, who said it wasn’t needed, would only duplicate an existing tunnel. But under state “Emergency Management,” construction plans got the green light.

State approval was given in April of 2013 for Flint to join a new 600 MILLION dollar water pipeline project called KWA, short for Karegnondi Water Authority.

An engineering study paid for by the State of Michigan’s Dept. of Treasury had shown in February of 2013 that joining the new pipeline project would hurt Flint financially. The lowest cost option, according to the study, was to continue getting the clean Lake Huron water from the Detroit water system!

So government officials who continue to explain the switch to Detroit River Water as a cost-saving move are lying!

So they decided to build a new water tunnel, just miles from the one built in the early 1970s because wealthy business interests were pushing for it. But the human costs of this unnecessary and expensive duplication were made worse when the Emergency Financial Manager proposed to switch to much dirtier, corrosive and polluted Flint River water in April of 2014 until the new tunnel is ready.

Switching to Flint River water meant that the Flint Water treatment plant – which had NOT been treating water since 1973 – had to go back to “treating water.” Why was this decision made? Possibly because the KWA pipeline water WOULD need to be treated at the Flint Water Treatment Plant when the new pipeline is finished in 2016. Possibly because it cost the state less. Possibly both reasons.

There is a memorial just north of Port Huron to the 24 people who died (the 22 from the explosion, and the two earlier fatalities), but it was so long ago; most people do not remember this history.

But today a new, much greater tragedy is in the making, created by the same corporate greed for profit and the same willingness of the two big parties to do what Big Business wants.