Pantsuit Nation is proud to partner with Crossing Water to bring you the first in a 3-part series of short films about the crisis in Flint, produced by Holly Hey and Lee Fearnside.
What you need to know:
In 2014, the government of Flint, Michigan, stopped buying water from Chicago and began to source from the nearby Flint River. Because an EPA-mandated pretreatment that would have cost the city ~$100/day was not implemented, the salts in the new water supply corroded and damaged the city’s water pipes, causing them to leach lead and other metals into the drinking water. Flint residents noticed a difference in water quality and expressed concerns. Even though General Motors had stopped using Flint water in order to protect against damage to its machines, and the government began providing bottled water for its employees, the city continued to assure citizens that the water was safe to drink.
The federal maximum standard for lead is 15 ppb. In Flint, independent testing saw lead levels as high as 13,200 ppb. Flint’s government tried to discredit this independent testing and in time, it was revealed that the city itself was not following proper testing procedures.
Today, 600 out of 29,000 lead pipes in the system have been replaced. The pipes that remain continue to leach lead into the water. Thousands of households still have unusable tap water and rely on bottled water for cooking, cleaning, drinking, and bathing. High levels of lead in the bloodstream can cause permanent behavioral issues and intellectual disabilities, especially in children. More than half of Flint’s residents are black. Flint is surrounded by communities that are 90% white. The surrounding communities were not impacted.
How you can help:
Crossing Water, a non-profit organization founded in early 2016, formed in order to help those most affected by this crisis. Crossing Water works to ensure that all residents have access to safe drinking water and information on how to access and utilize resources that are available to them.
Crossing Water developed and deploys Rapid Response Service Teams (RRST) in Flint to ensure that the most vulnerable individuals and families get the critical assistance and relief they need. The teams are led by social workers and supported by EMTs, RNs, plumbers, and other volunteers.
Volunteers are given intensive training and RRST teams document all field visits and debrief on their experiences. These teams provide necessary supplies and much needed support to Flint families. This support may include installing new faucets and faucet filters and teaching families to to replace filters. Volunteers also bring bottled water, tools, clothing, and other supplies in order to be ready to provide the residents what they need.
To date, Crossing Water volunteers have visited over 568 families, made over 1,000 home visits, and distributed well over 20,000 gallons of water. They have become a trusted community resource and residents who are familiar with their work often refer their services to others in need. Crossing Water focuses much of their work on families with children, babies, pregnant women, homebound individuals, and others with special needs.
To support Crossing Water, please consider donating:
$10 provides a case of water or a replacement filter cartridge
$25 buys a faucet filter
$30 buys a new faucet
$280 provides one week’s worth of water for a family of 4
$395 funds a RRST visit, faucet, filter, extra cartridge, and water for a week
If you are not in a position to contribute financially, please consider sharing this video and the donation link on Facebook or Twitter.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.