A History Of Milwaukee And Flint And Contaminated Water

Last week, researchers released a report announcing that the amount of lead poisoning found in Milwaukee’s water was higher than Flint.

There are several similarities between Milwaukee and Flint. This is not the first time either city has experienced trouble with clean water.

During the '90s Milwaukee water was contaminated by cryptosporidium, which causes diarrhea as a result of microscopic parasites. The problem was eventually rectified, but after the extreme breakout, the city decided to pump phosphorous into the water system.

Flint, on the other hand, has had several extreme cases of contaminated water. During the 1970s the water contained "the presence of fecal coliform bacteria, low dissolved oxygen, plant nutrients, oils, and toxic substances." In 2001, in an attempt to clean the water that had been affected by fertilizer and pesticides among others, it began to undergo a treatment, but it was later discovered that the water was being treated with chemicals that violated federal law. The latest crisis, started as early as 2007 when plans to clean the water ran into several obstacles leading to the current crisis today.

Additionally, most recently, the Michigan Civil Rights Commision released a statement that what happened in Flint and the lack of response is due to systemic racism. During a meeting, they announcing the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” designed to help mend the bridge between the government and Flint residents.

As Milwaukee residents are all too aware, they live in one of the most segregated cities in the nation. According to Mayor Barrett, houses built in the 1950s are more likely to have lead laterals. During the 1950s housing segregation was still being practiced, although Mayor Barrett announced that those living in such locations have been alerted to the increase of lead in their water.

Among the associations, the fact of the matter remains: this is a terrifying time for residents of Flint and Milwaukee. Although city officials have alerted houses that are more likely to experience lead poisoning. they have not come up with a solution. Additionally, Flint for all intents and purposes has been slowly disregarded over time. While celebrities like Big Sean continue to advocate for Flint and donations continue to be made, politicians have slowly backed away from the situation. Could the same happen to Milwaukee?
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