After the Flint, Michigan water crisis in 2014, water quality has been a big concern for many Americans. The water supply for Flint had changed to using the Flint River as its source, but due to insufficient water treatment, lead leached into the drinking water supply. Children and pregnant women are especially at risk for effects of lead poisoning as it can cause severe issues with development, particularly in the brain. Lead accumulates in our bodies and can affect the liver, kidney, brain, and our bones. Not only is lead found in some drinking water, but it can also be found in paints and even our food! Luckily, levels of lead in the soil, water, and air have decreased significantly due to increasing regulations. Although the circumstances were unfortunate, Flint is serving as a great ignitor for improving regulations even more.
In an effort to act on the Flint crisis and to ensure that the occurrence of this extent does not occur again, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established some new guidelines. The new protocols focus on identifying lead, expanding sampling, and making treatment requirements more strict. The overall goal of this is to improve efficiency of programs in preventing lead exposure by removing all the lead service lines across the country, particularly in at-risk communities. These new protocols require system to alert consumers within 24 hours if lead levels are above 15 parts per billion. They also ensure that pipes revealing lead levels between 10-15 ppb have to be replaced. The EPA still has a long way to go as there is an estimated 6.5 to 10 million households that still have lead water lines, but this is a great way to lead the path to establishing safe drinking water for all Americans.
After an event so unsettling like what occurred in Flint, Michigan, it is great to see the government in action to help prevent something like that from happening again. Our homes are supposed to be a place of comfort and safety; therefore, the idea of our drinking water poisoning us and our families is very concerning. This class has made me realize all the different compounds that can contaminate our drinking water; therefore, it is crucial that I begin to be aware of where something so important to my sustainment is coming from.