Water quality in the US became a topic of national conversation with the widespread contamination of drinking water in Flint MI. One of the main contaminants in the drinking water was lead, which is known to impact cognitive development in young children. This contamination occurred due to a combination of a change in water supply and a lack of proper treatment. Although the members of Flint had expressed many concerns about the taste, color, and odor of their drinking water, it was only with the discovery of elevated levels of lead in the blood of children residing in Flint that the issue came into the national spotlight.
Understanding what went wrong in Flint is important for anyone concerned with drinking water quality. In W410, we will examine what happened in Flint MI, both in terms of ways in which lead contamination occurs in drinking water as well as how key management and policy decisions aggravated the issue.
In addition to our investigation into what happened in Flint, we will also consider other examples of water contamination such as problems with arsenic in Bangladesh and dioxane in Ann Arbor.