In charge of the city’s budget in the midst of a financial emergency, the state of Michigan decided to switch Flint’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River as a cost-saving measure. The river had a reputation for nastiness and after the switch in April of 2014, residents began to complain that their water looked, smelled, and tasted funny.
Researchers at Virginia Tech found the water was highly corrosive. A lawsuit alleges the state Department of Environmental Quality didn’t treat the water for corrosion and because so many service lines to Flint are made of lead, the toxic element leached into the water of the city’s homes and was subsequently unknowingly consumed by the city’s residents.
The situation shows a blatant disregard for people’s health in exchange for saving money. Even worse, now there are allegations that the world’s biggest bottler of water may have played a part in the crisis.In 2001 and 2002, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued permits to the world’s largest water bottler (we have a policy of not directly naming or speaking negatively of competitors) to pump up to 400 gallons of water per minute from aquifers that feed Lake Michigan. This sparked a decade-long legal battle between that company and the residents of Mecosta County, Michigan, where the wells are located. One of the most surprising things about this story is that, in Mecosta County, this water bottler is not required to pay anything to extract the water, besides a small permitting fee to the state and the cost of leases to a private landowner. In fact, the company received $13 million in tax breaks from the state to locate the plant in Michigan. But it goes a step further: the company’s spokesperson is married to the chief of staff of Michigan’s governor. In effect, this company gets paid to pump fresh clean water while Flint’s residents are forced to pay some of the highest water rates in the country for toxic water. That’s not right. Unfortunately, Flint isn’t the only city in this country to be experiencing problems with its tap water. It’s happening all over the United States, from California to New York, and the Flint crisis seems to have brought them to light. People who drink tap water are at the mercy of the agencies in charge of treating it. People who drink water bottled by the world’s largest water bottler are contributing to the bottom line of a huge corporation that gives nothing back the communities in which it operates. These are just some of the reasons companies like Castle Rock Water, which only bottle fresh spring water in glass bottles and gives back to their communities, are experiencing growth in home water delivery. People are fed up with corporate giants and want to support family owned business that provide quality water at a fair price. Setting up regular deliveries of fresh drinking water is the best way to avoid tap water and guarantee that you’re not exposing yourself, and your family, to toxic chemicals. For more information, or to set up regular home delivery, email firstname.lastname@example.org.