Five years after the water crisis in Flint, Michigan gained national attention, a new incident has Flint citizens alarmed.
According to MLive, on Sunday the city dumped an estimated 2 million gallons of untreated sewage into the Flint River only months after being warned by officials that the wastewater infrastructure was on the fast track to what would be considered a “critical point.”
In 2014, Flint residents complained of dirty, foul-smelling water after the city switched its water to the Flint River. Soon after doctors found evidence of high lead levels in children and an outside agency confirmed the city’s water was corroding pipes and causing bacteria levels to skyrocket. Unfortunately, they haven’t had clean water since.
Tuesday, a partial report filed with the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy stated that a “flash flood event” overflowed primary settling tanks at the city’s wastewater treatment plant and sent raw waste onto the ground and into a storm sewer drain that discharges directly to the river.
Even though an advisory was issued warning people to avoid contact with the river due to potentially high bacteria levels related to the spill, state officials have yet to outline what actions are being taken to minimize impact from the discharge or even prevent a similar catastrophe from happening again.
“We’re going to get to a point where we can’t treat our wastewater and sewage anymore,” Director of Public Works, Robert Bincsik previously conceded. “We won’t have to talk about drinking water anymore, because we’ll talk about nothing but the raw sewage that gets discharged into the Flint River.”
This current incident comes just months after the City Council approved nearly $1 million in contracts with companies to help design upgrades to the sewage treatment infrastructure that could help prevent what officials fear could be a “catastrophic failure.”