November 01, 2016

Toxic taps: Flint litigation and drinking water infrastructure

Molly Cagle and Samia R. Broadaway

It is hard to believe that the City of Flint, Michigan was once notable because it was the industrial heart of 19th and 20th century automobile manufacturing. It now has a new reputation—at least according to media reports—as the poster child for the nation’s aging drinking water infrastructure and the potential for lead contamination in drinking water. The Flint River, the source of drinking water in the City of Flint, may not be “fishable” or “swimmable,” but the river water itself was not the source of the lead contamination. Rather, the corrosive river water ate away at the aging drinking water distribution pipes owned and operated by the City, as well as in the homes served by it, dissolving the lead-bearing pipes until faucets ran brown.

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