Sunday, January 31, 2016

Slow motion, preventable tragedy in Michigan

So Flint, Michigan went from having drinkable water to water that was poisonous. The Flint water has caused rashes, smelled and tasted foul, corroded metal parts at a local factory, and increased lead levels in children. This is not what most of us aspire to--to go backwards into greater danger due to unhygienic conditions.

I'm not a fan of endless improvements, especially those that are minor, time-consuming, and mandated without regard to the cost imposed. And, believe me since I work in healthcare, I live with a lot of time-consuming, mandated requirements.

However, safe drinking water is one of the banner achievements of our society. Its loss, in a stupid and wanton way, is a reminder of how necessary regulations are. Somehow, all the clean water regulations in the country and in Michigan didn't prevent this preventable mistake.

I know hardly anything about water regulations, so I don't know if regulations were ignored, or maybe loopholes used. But having worked in bureaucratic organizations, I can imagine that some people knew this water change was a very bad idea, yet they were overruled or not listened to. And maybe someone (a cog in the machine, like me) rubberstamped the changes and they went ahead.

I pray that I'm strong enough to stand up if I'm ever in this situation, but I'm not confident I would be. And I don't know a fail-safe answer either. After all, weren't there already fail-safe regulations already in place, yet this still occurred?

If this was your house, your bath, your water...

Extra. Details (but readable) about the chemistry of water treatment.

Update 2/13/16. Emails warning not to do this. I wish there were more details in the emails about why.

Update 2/26/16. Similar news story, but still not clear as to warnings.

1 comment:

Dangerous said...

The change in water source was intentional and while those making the decision probably did not intend the result they got, and might even feel bad about it, they did it for money and to poor people because of a general thought that it is okay to spend as little money as possible on poor people.

Then and since it has been CYA and denial by those who did it. If investigated, I'm predicting that political friends of ruling party (GOP) made some money from it, and at least some of the people responsible did not care if the change might harm the population. Those people impacted did not vote for the people who made the decisions, their supporters want to spend as little on the people impacted as possible, and probably still think that it is their own fault for being poor and not being able to pay for clean drinking water or a water system.

It's disgusting and, knowing you, I'm sure you would blow the whistle in an instant despite any potential harm to your career.