The city of Flint has been under a federal state of emergency since January as a direct result of the water crisis, following a change in the city’s water sources in mid-2014. The newer source of water came from Flint River and was found to have higher corrosive properties than the original source, causing pipes to erode and high levels of lead ran through the city’s drinking water.
“The ripple effects of the city of Flint’s tainted drinking water crisis could eventually prompt water suppliers to spend more than a quarter-trillion dollars on infrastructure upgrades faster than anticipated.”
This is a scary figure, and if these changes are expected to come into play quickly they could impose a huge financial burden on water utilities. With the EPA’s latest survey estimating that the entire sector needs $385 billion in water infrastructure improvements, it’s going to be a tough few years.
With more than six million main service lines across the country, utilities are stepping up education efforts to reinforce public confidence while also evaluating their existing treatment protocols to ensure water quality.
There have been a number of lawsuits filed against the city of Flint with a long list of state and local agencies and officials being held accountable for the crisis. Some suits even seek to hold Gov. Rick Snyder personally liable for damages. Victims of Legionnaires’ disease are being treated in Flint hospitals and are seeking multi-million dollar awards.
The city of Flint began its $55 million “Fresh Start” initiative on Friday and hopes to replace all lead service lines in the city. The aim is to restore safe, clean drinking water as soon as possible.
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Source: Matthew Dolan. “Flint water crisis could cost U.S. $300 billion”. USA Today March 5 2016.