On Saturday, more than 300 unionized plumbers and pipefitters from across the country donated their time and expertise to residents in Flint, MI. The plumbers installed new faucets and water filters in an effort to provide clean drinking water.
Workers gathered at 7 a.m. at the UA Local 370 Union Hall in Flushing, Michigan to begin work. The effort was coordinated by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry, and the fixtures were donated by the Plumbing Manufacturers International. Many Flint homes needed new faucets because older models were not made to accommodate filters. By the end of the day, the team had serviced 1,100 homes.
How It Began
Thousands of Flint residents have been exposed to unsafe levels of lead in their drinking water since April 2014, when the city of Flint changed water supplies from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in order to save money. However, the new water supply was high in salt, which corroded Flint’s pipes leading to lead in the water.
Lead impacts a child’s brain development resulting in a reduced IQ. The Hurley Medical Center released a study reporting that since 2014, the proportion of infants and children with above-average lead in their blood has nearly doubled.
Residents complained about the water’s foul smell and color, yet were assured as late as February 2015 that the water was safe, although the city had direct reports of dangerous lead levels. In an effort to combat the foul smell, more chlorine was added to the water, increasing toxicity.
All of these moving parts have called into question when Governor Snyder knew of the problem, and how long he deliberately placed human lives in jeopardy to balance a budget.
ACT Ohio would like to thank our Flint brothers and sisters for their initiative in this relief effort. Please see below for extended video coverage.