News Briefs: So Much Lead — Flint, Michigan, Declares State of Emergency

In this week's news, Flint's water problems continue, a wastewater discharge causes a fish kill, and the U.S. Supreme Court is set to settle a Clean Water Act dispute
News Briefs: So Much Lead — Flint, Michigan, Declares State of Emergency

Interested in Education/Training?

Get Education/Training articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Education/Training + Get Alerts

A water crisis in Flint, Michigan, hit an alarming level this week as Mayor Karen W. Weaver declared a state of emergency, stating that Flint children “have experienced increased blood lead levels” since the city switched its water source to the Flint River. A statement from Weaver’s office said the manmade disaster has caused irreversible damage to the city’s children, which will result in expenses for learning disabilities, social services and even the juvenile justice system.

By declaring the state of emergency, Weaver hopes to attract federal support for the community’s health crisis.

The City of Flint switched its water source from the Detroit water system to the Flint River in April 2014 as a temporary solution until a pipeline to Lake Huron’s Karegnondi Water Authority could be finished. Almost immediately, residents reported cloudy tap water that emitted a foul odor.

After petitions and demonstrations from residents, along with mounting evidence of the water’s toxicity from the scientific community, the city switched back to Detroit water on Oct. 16. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the city, seeking damages from exposure to the lead-tainted water.

A medical study at the Hurley Medical Center revealed the percentage of children with high lead blood levels nearly doubled while residents received Flint River water.

Source: Washington Post

Power Failure at Plant Blamed For Fish Kill

A power failure at Sager Creek Foods in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, is being blamed for a fish kill along an Illinois River tributary. According to Oklahoma wildlife officials, 30,700 fish died after industrial wastewater was released to the Siloam Spring wastewater treatment plant instead of going through the normal pretreatment process. The unauthorized discharge overwhelmed the municipal plant, causing partially treated sewage to enter Sager Creek.

Fisheries biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation observed “a strong odor of partially treated sewage, a gray tint to the water, and a large amount of suspended solids,” after the discharge. The department is estimating the damages at $16,000, including nearly $2,000 in investigation costs.

Source: Muskogee Phoenix

Supreme Court to Rule on Clean Water Act

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear U.S. Army Corps of Engineer vs. Hawkes Co. A ruling will determine if landowners can legally challenge whether their properties are subject to the federal Clean Water Act.

Recent changes to the Clean Water Act put millions of additional acres within the definition of the “Water of the U.S.” That extension has been a point of contention among many states and organizations.

In this case, a Minnesota peat moss company wanted to extract moss from a wetlands. However, the Army Corps said a Clean Water permit was necessary because the wetlands had a “significant nexis” to the navigable Red River of the Noth 120 miles away.

“We think the government applies its authority way too broadly,” said Ellen Steen, general counsel for the American Farm Bureau Federation in a Capital Press article.

Source: Capital Press, Forbes


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.