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Flint Municipal water

Flint Municipal water

(OP)
So, Flint has been MI lead poisoned and exposed to legionella bacteria because the water supply was switched from Detroit municipal to the Flint River. Since the polluted river is corrosive and iron rich, lead was leached from pipes and solder into the water of thousands of homes, and legionella bateria (legionaire's diseased) apparently thrived on the dissolved iron.

It was done to save money, it stayed that way because people who knew of the crisis sat on the information and obstructed inquiry.

http://dailycaller.com/2016/01/14/epa-knew-about-m...

http://m.democracynow.org/stories/15874

There HAS to be a (ir)responsible engineer in that chain. What are their duties, did they fail to perform? Would whistleblower action have been appropriate?

RE: Flint Municipal water

4
The real responsibility lies with the Republican dominated legislature which in 2011, after the 2010 election of Republican Rick Snyder as Governor, replaced a much less draconian law that allowed the Governor to intercede when a city fell into financial crisis. The old law had rarely been invoked since it was passed in 1988. However after the newer, more authoritarian law was passed, several cities were virtually taken over by the Governor appointing an 'emergency manager' and a 'board of directors' who legally replaced the elected officials of the city, including the mayor and the city council. Flint was one of those cites. Now these 'emergency managers' were given authority to sell city assets, cancel contracts, renegotiate labor agreements with city employees, etc.

For example, when the Governor took over the City of Detroit, a proposal was made to liquidate the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the largest and most famous art museums in the US. The idea was to sell the various works of art to private individuals and/or corporations and to close the museum down. It was this potential 'theft' of what's really art that belonged to the people of Detroit, the state and in fact, the entire country, that prompted, in part, a petition being put on the 2012 ballot, which passed overwhelmingly, repealing this new law. However the Governor went back to his Republican legislator and got an almost identical law passed. The only real difference, and this is what the courts had questioned, was that the a city's elected officials would remain in place, but were reduced in authority to an advisory role but at least kept the semblance that the citizens of the city were still having a say in its operation, but the Emergency Manager and his 'board', for all intents and purposes, was still in control. As for the Detroit Institute of Arts, when Detroit was negotiating its final bankruptcy agreement it was decided to establish a non-profit corporation to which the assets of the museum were transferred and which was chartered to hold them in the name of the people of Detroit and the state.

This is the situation today in Flint where the Emergency Manager decided to stop using water purchased from the Detroit Metropolitan Water System and start taking water from the Flint River, which has been deem so polluted that 20 some years ago, General Motors, the largest employer in the city, stopped using Flint River water due to its corrosive nature even when used for strictly industrial uses. In fact, the lack of a good water supply is part of what led GM to close many of it's manufacturing facilities in the Flint area over the last 15- 20 years.

John R. Baker, P.E.
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RE: Flint Municipal water

(OP)
Still, while agreeing completely with the political critique, an engineer had to be involved in the implementation. Someone had to realize what was going on. I think the story broke publicly when a woman moved out of Flint, but kept some of the water and had it tested in VA where she moved to.

Someone almost HAD to turn a valve and think 'this ain't going to end well', or at least 'sucks to be them'. Should they have spoken up? (granted, there is zero protection for government whistleblowers these days- look at Tom Drake, Jeffrey Sterling or William Binney)

Is it possible the there was diffusion of responsibility, like illustrated in the diffuse bureaucratic kill chain shown in the Drone Papers?
https://theintercept.com/drone-papers/the-kill-cha...

About the DIA, I know it was amazing when I went there, and all of the boardups reminded me of Buffalo, where I live. Dawoud Bey was up, and Whistler too. The Whistler collection is now in the Freer in DC still public, I managed to see the peacock room in each museum. really something amazing.

RE: Flint Municipal water

3
It appears to have been an investigator from the ACLU that first requested that Virginia Tech test water samples from Flint, per the item below:

http://www.toledoblade.com/JackLessenberry/2015/11...

And if you read this item it would seem that there was criminal malfeasance by people at several Michigan state departments and at several levels:

http://flintwaterstudy.org/2015/09/commentary-mdeq...

And it appears that the people in the Governor's office knew about the seriousness of the water problem in Flint at least six months before it was started to be talked about in the national media and before any real action was taken to either reverse the decision to use water from the Flint River instead of the Detroit Water System or before the stated started to provide bottled water to the residents of Flint. Until it made the national news, the story was that it was OK to continue to drink the water. But people inside the Governor's office knew what was happening and they were trying to get someone to do something. BTW, the Governor's chief-of-staff, who is the person who sent this email six months ago, just resigned effective immediately (perhaps we will be hearing from him again as the U.S. Justice Department starts to ramp-up it's investigation):

http://michiganradio.org/post/email-snyders-chief-...

John R. Baker, P.E.
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RE: Flint Municipal water

So far, I haven't seen an analysis of which pipes the lead is coming from. Is it being leached out of the Flint municipal mains? Or is it from private houses that were plumbed with lead? I could see the 'city fathers' not making allowances for lead pipes on private property.

BTW: the word 'plumbing' comes from plumbum - Lead - Pb. And lead pipes and drinking-ware was one of the contributing causes of the fall of the Roman Empire.

RE: Flint Municipal water

No, it's coming from the city mains. In one of the items in my last note there's a story about one of the early citizen activists who, when they bought their home, had been forced to install all new plumbing because when the house had been sitting empty while it was on the market someone had broken in a stripped it of all its copper piping for the scrap value. So they had all plastic plumping installed yet when the city's water was switched they were one of the first people to have their water tested and it showed the high levels of lead.

BTW, one of the reason that I've been following this story is that my wife used to live in Flint and she still has several cousins living in the area there whom she stays in regular contact with.

John R. Baker, P.E.
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To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Duwe6 If you read the second link in R Bakers last post, you'll find the story of at least one resident who had plastic pipes in her house and high lead in her water, while the piping to her house was lead.

It seems like several people within MDEQ knowingly lied and broke their rules, by not having a corrosion protection program and other things. I think as engineers we need to face the fact that we could land in a similar situation: Noticing that our company/institution is breaking a law or code for a while now and we are expected to cover it up.
Not trying to excuse the behavior, just pointing out that resisting authority and peer pressure is hard.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Hope Flint has a gooood insurance carrier. Sounds like they are about to be sued by thousands of home-owners with children.

And it is amazing what happens when you "Drop a Dime" and phone the authorities. Screw up structural calc's or pressure vessel design and I know who too call. When a municipality self-certifies its own work, who can be called?

RE: Flint Municipal water

(OP)
For comparison, my son had a marginal high lead test, one or 2 retests to confirm, a visit from the county, identification of sources (lead paint on a door, contact with unfired ceramic glaze), source removal, follow up testing, all inside a couple months. In Erie county, close to Detroit on the rust belt and the poor rankings. I think the county was under under an unelected control board in and out for the past 15 years or so.

RE: Flint Municipal water

(OP)
Which leads to a question, why weren't pediatricians blowing this up?

RE: Flint Municipal water

Flint is a very poor city and I suspect that most children there have never been seen by a pediatrician. They're lucky if their parents can get them to a public clinic for their health care needs.

John R. Baker, P.E.
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Digital Factory
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Siemens PLM:
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To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

On the radio this morning a civil engineer was quoted as saying a $100 expense could have prevented it. No further explanation came. Perhaps that is a cost for a water test.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Actually, oldestguy, that's the monthly cost for a anti corrosive agent. Supposedly, it was proposed, but vetoed due to cost.
It sounds like it meets the narrative, but I doubt that would of prevented the whole issue.

RE: Flint Municipal water

I remember as a teenager going to a water treatment plant on a guided tour, seeing the plant operators dumping lime into the water.
I was told it was to adjust the PH of the water and to make sure a liner of carbonate was formed inside lead pipes to prevent metallic lead leaching into the water. I was also told this was 100 year old technology.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Flint Municipal water

It's being reported that Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder, is considering demanding that Washington should assume responsibility for refurbishing Flint's municipal water system including replacing all of the city's water mains.

John R. Baker, P.E.
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RE: Flint Municipal water

3
Never fear.

Washington is appointing a federal level democrat bureaucrat to fix it.

Ain't an engineer. Ain't even a contractor. Ain't even a plumber. But that new bureaucrat is gonna fix it, fer sure. /sarchasm

RE: Flint Municipal water

I don't understand how blowing wind will fix this problem? If this were a business someone would expect a criminal case, but being government no one will be charged, and the public will be left with the bill.

That's it, work for the government and be free from any mistakes you might make.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Here's an item from June 2014. I suspect that the people in the photo are now regretting TWO things; a) bragging about how they had just saved the average family in Flint $35/month on their water bills, and b) actually toasting this accomplishment with water FROM the Flint River. Karma can be a real bitch at times:



http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2014/06/...

John R. Baker, P.E.
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To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

BTW, Does anyone know why the Flint river is so polluted in the first place?

Thanks,
Mark

RE: Flint Municipal water

Just speculating, but I would say that 100+ years of heavy industrial manufacturing operations, primary General Motors, located along the river where they could easily draw out process and cooling water and then returning it a bit further downstream, probably had something to do with it.

John R. Baker, P.E.
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To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

2
It sounds like there were some mistakes or bad decisions made by numerous different organizations, and I imagine it will take a while to find out the real story of the chain of events and decisions that led to this situation (if we ever do find out the true story)

I'm not a drinking water treatment engineer, but I'm a civil engineer that does work in the areas of water resources and municipal engineering...A couple things that I have questions on:

A lot of blame being placed on both the state (governors office and Michigan Dept of Environmental Quality - MDEQ) as well as the federal government (EPA). But few people in the media seem to be questioning the local water utility. The locals should know their water source and quality and their distribution system better than anyone, right? Isn't there some sort of general manager and/or head engineer at the water utility or the City's public works department that should have recognized that lack of corrosion control was a really bad idea? MDEQ had regulatory responsibility to review the source water switch and screwed up too, and US EPA arguably had some responsibility (though it sounds like they are trying to pass the buck back to MDEQ) but who did all the planning, design and implementation of the source water switch and the upgrades to the City's treatment plant to treat the river water? Or was the state of Michigan handling that too, because of the emergency manager takeover? Or perhaps we will find out that somebody locally in the water utility or public works raised an alarm but was overruled.
Flint is one of the biggest cities in Michigan...this isn't some small community water system serving 500 people.
It seems strange to me that the City of Flint Utility/Public Works has seemed invisible through this crisis.

If the cost information being put out there is accurate, it doesn't sound like the implementation of corrosion control would have been a cost that would have jeopardized the project. So far it sounds like a (tragic) oversight or screwup, probably compounded by the fact that people began to realize the mistake but didn't want to admit it or wanted to cover their own butts...
From what I have been able to gather so far (and again I'm not a drinking water treatment engineer), it sounds like Flint had no real corrosion control program of their own, because the quality of the treated water they were getting from Detroit didn't require Flint to do anything additional. So before the source water switch, it sounds their corrosion control program was "we let Detroit handle this". Isn't it really, really stupid to just assume that they wouldn't need a corrosion control program when they switched to Flint River water? From the news articles, it sounds like they were telling MDEQ "yes, we have a corrosion control program, you can check that box", and it sounds like MDEQ agreed with that, for many months. But that "corrosion control program" was "Detroit does it for us", BUT THEN Flint stopped using Detroit water. I guess they were also planning on continue to do sampling and monitoring and data collection, and see if six months or a year of data showed any problems...but wouldn't you typically do some sort of pilot testing in this situation, or start to implement corrosion control knowing the characteristics of the source water.

I sort of hope there is more to the story, because if not, that just sounds like a really, really dumb interpretation of what a corrosion control program is...and then it sounds like MDEQ and US EPA began to argue for months about "Does this meet the bureaucratic requirements of corrosion control and the Lead and Copper Rule"? Shouldn't somebody have quickly stepped up and said, regardless of how you interpret MDEQ standards and the Lead and Copper Rule, it's obvious from the data we are seeing and what we know about the source water and the age of the system that what we are doing is not adequate...?!?

Shaking my head...I think we'd all like to think that we'd behave differently if we were faced with a similar situation, but I try to remind myself that you can't really know what it would be like to be in someone else's shoes...




RE: Flint Municipal water

HEHurst, perhaps you missed what I originally posted on January 17th as this might help explain the environment under which the city's water department employees were working when this switch-over was made:

The real responsibility lies with the Republican dominated legislature which in 2011, after the 2010 election of Republican Rick Snyder as Governor, replaced a much less draconian law that allowed the Governor to intercede when a city fell into financial crisis. The old law had rarely been invoked since it was passed in 1988. However after the newer, more authoritarian law was passed, several cities were virtually taken over by the Governor appointing an 'emergency manager' and a 'board of directors' who legally replaced the elected officials of the city, including the mayor and the city council. Flint was one of those cites. Now these 'emergency managers' were given authority to sell city assets, cancel contracts, renegotiate labor agreements with city employees, etc.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Digital Factory
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
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To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

This was not an engineering failure, just another failure of the right wingnuts and their nonsense policies.

JohnRBaker is correct in that it is the Governors responsibility. It is important to recognize that the top level officials in many agencies such as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality are political appointees. Even when the officials are not appointed by the Governor, they will kowtow to more important officials. The Governor also appointed the Flint Emergency Manager. Rick Snyder bears sole responsibility and should resign.

It is interesting that political office is the only position where lack of experience is an asset. In Rick Snyder's case, he previously was employed as an accountant.

It is not necessary to study corrosion problems from water. An experienced water professional should be able to review the water analysis and within 5 minutes make a recommendation. It is not rocket science.

The only corrosion inhibitor that is guaranteed to be successful is an alkali like lime or sodium hydroxide. Raising the pH will cause the water to be slightly scaling as evidenced by the Langelier index. Most communities do not raise the pH as it is expensive. A few mg/L of chemical are inexpensive, but when multiplied by millions of gallons per day, the costs add up.

Orthophosphate is used as a corrosion inhibitor, but in practice, only a very small amount is used rendering the chemical to be ineffective. The results of orthophosphate are not scientifically proven, and can be termed as more artistic than science.

Flint had a bacterial problem early on in the switch to Flint River water. This led to the City increasing the chlorine dosage which in turn contributed to more corrosion.

Lead contamination is normally associated with the service connections. The service connections are the 3/4-Inch pipes from the 8-Inch City mains in the street to the residence. There may be some corrosion products from the City water mains, but corrosion of the City mains will be minimal as compared to the service connections. The homeowner usually is responsible for the service connections, not the City. In some older areas of Cities, the pipes are made of lead. New service connections are made with copper or PVC.

Lead pipes for carrying drinking water were well recognized as a cause of lead poisoning by the late 1800s in the United States. By the 1920s, many cities and towns were prohibiting or restricting their use. To combat this trend, the lead industry carried out a prolonged and effective campaign to promote the use of lead pipes. Led by the Lead Industries Association (LIA), representatives were sent to speak with plumbers’ organizations, local water authorities, architects, and federal officials. The LIA also published numerous articles and books that extolled the advantages of lead over other materials and gave practical advice on the installation and repair of lead pipes. The LIA’s activities over several decades therefore contributed to the present-day public health and economic cost of lead water pipes.

RE: Flint Municipal water

What if there was a technical person that told the Governor what he wanted to hear? Isn't that a worse crime?

Thanks,
Mark

RE: Flint Municipal water

It's been reported that Rick Snyder's chief-of-staff, who has since resigned, DID tell the Governor as many as nine months ago that they had screwed-up and that it was unforgivable to continue to let people think that everything was OK. I suspect that he will not be serving out his full term.

John R. Baker, P.E.
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RE: Flint Municipal water

bimr,
I appreciate your input on some of the technical and chemical background.
I'm still not convinced there was no engineering failure and only a policy failure, or that the governor bears sole responsibility. Is it your contention that there was likely no safe way to use the Flint River as the raw water source, or that there simply wasn't time for the proper design and implementation, and that the City was forced into that plan of action because of political interference or financially-based decisions? I would at least be willing to consider that line of reasoning, though do we know enough yet to say that's the case?

It sounds like MDEQ made some serious mistakes (I was reading more today at http://flintwaterstudy.org/ )...so if you're arguing that Rick Snyder as the governor ultimately bears responsibility for the actions of DEQ, I could see that line of reasoning...or if you're arguing that a political climate was created where sound technical decisions were overruled or technical input was disregarded in favor of political or financial considerations, I could imagine that such an environment may have existed. And certainly, if Governor Snyder knew nine months ago there was a serious problem but tried to cover it up or downplay it, that's terrible and he should be held responsible for that.

I'm also learning more about the timing of Detroit's decision to shut off water to Flint, and what options may have been available to keep negotiating with Detroit.
From what I've read, once Flint reached an agreement with the Karegnondi Water Authority (the new Lake Huron pipeline) to obtain Lake Huron water from the Karegnondi authority, they notified Detroit - and Detroit gave them a one-year notice of termination the next day (I assume this was within the rights of Detroit to do, according to whatever contract they had with Flint to supply water). The new Lake Huron pipeline wouldn't be online for three years. Did Flint, or its emergency manager, assume they would have access to Detroit water for the full 3 years it would take to build the pipeline? At first I thought Detroit unilaterally told them the cutoff period was one year with no option for negotiation, but something I read today said that Detroit was willing to open negotiations again, but Flint turned them down. If the emergency manager or whoever shut down further negotiations with Detroit to save a buck or for political considerations, knowing they would have to turn to Flint River water for a few years, and not knowing if the river water was suitable because they hadn't done their due diligence, I agree that's a very bad policy decision.



RE: Flint Municipal water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knew about the problems that led to Flint, Mich.’s, drinking water crisis in April of last year.

Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech researcher who helped uncover the lead problem and documentation about the EPA’s role, said the federal agency’s response was unacceptable.

The Fed did nothing

RE: Flint Municipal water

US EPA is saying that their role was to advise Michigan DEQ, and that it was Michigan DEQ's responsibility to determine/enforce any sort of corrective action.
Certainly does seem like some within EPA tried to disregard or at least downplay the findings of recommendations of Miguel Del Toral. Either the MDEQ or someone within management in EPA Region V characterized him as a rogue actor.



RE: Flint Municipal water

I just saw the news, announced within the last hour, that Susan Hedman, head of EPA Region 5 (which oversees Michigan and five other Midwestern states) is resigning effective February 1st.

RE: Flint Municipal water

This situation is a political failure just like the situation that occurred with Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. Remember the phrase "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." Who is the person playing the part of Brownie?

There was no significant issue with Detroit shutting down their water. Detroit is also in bankruptcy and was probably just trying to generate money for their own problems. With a notice of a year, a project could have been completed for any water treatment plant. The problem is the lack of funds for an impoverished community. Snyder could have put pressure on the Detroit Water System to allow more time as well.

Susan Hedman - political appointee. She fell on her sword and resigned. Probably felt that she did not want to spend the rest of her life in congressional hearings. The majority political party in Congress sets the agenda. Right now, that is the republicans. Look at what the republicans have done with the Benghazi hearings. The republicans will make this issue a political football even though they have no interest in assisting Flint.

Dan Wyant, the Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality also resigned. He is another political appointee with no background in the environmental business.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwyant

Prior to being Director of the MDEQ, he was President of a cat litter foundation.

Rick Snyder appointed Wyant. Why did he not appoint someone qualified?

Rick Synder also appointed the Emergency Manager who signed off on the water switch decision and was in charge of running the City of Flint.

The water analyses can be downloaded from the water department website:
https://www.cityofflint.com/public-works/utilities...

You can calculate the Langelier Index here. The Langelier Index is an empirical measure of the corrosivity of the water:

http://www.lenntech.com/calculators/langelier/inde...

The backup Flint water system for treating Flint River water consists of a lime softening/filtration plant. It is probably adequate to treat the Flint River water and remove all contaminants but the water treatment plant did not appear to be operated correctly as evidenced by the low Langelier reading. The pH of the water after lime softening has been lowered to a pH level that is corrosive.

I picked an example date of May 6 2015. Here is the result for the Langelier Index:

"Slightly corrosive but non-scale forming."

In March 2015 Flint’s emergency manager ordered the city to pay Veolia $40,000 for a 160-hour study of the city’s water issues. The report is also not stamped by a Professional Engineer. An engineer’s report is required to be prepared by a Professional Engineer.

https://www.cityofflint.com/wp-content/uploads/Veo...

This fiasco is nothing more than Michigan's "New Orleans" moment. Thousands of poor people, no jobs, no tax base, no City money, water bills that the residents cannot afford to pay, and on and on.

http://www.workers.org/articles/2016/01/19/flint-d...

RE: Flint Municipal water

(OP)
This is a big and deep discussion. Thank you everybody.

RE: Flint Municipal water

6
Maybe it's just me, but the moment I see someone labeled (republican, democrat, etc.), and their political affiliation has zero to do with why their decision was right/wrong, I tune out.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Flint Municipal water

I agree with MacGyver.

The question I would have, and I don't expect an answer, is if the governor appoints someone, does he actually know him, or is he appointing someone from a recommendation?
The first would be cronyism, the second would be what I would have expected.

If the city is truly broke as in without the means to pay the bills from tax revenues, then what caused that? Who really run off the taxpayers?

RE: Flint Municipal water

In the case of Flint it was a combination of the deindustrialization of the area which simply accelerated the 'White flight' that had been going on for some 30+ years. My wife used to live there and when we stop and visit the cousins who still live in the area, it's been a really sad situation, even before this tragedy. As Micheal Moore has stated, who was born and raised in Flint and who still has family there himself, if this had been Grosse Point or Birmingham, two very wealthy (and predominantly White) cities near Detroit, this would have never been allowed to happen.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Digital Factory
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

All well and good to tune out. But you are tuning out of real life.

The resume of the former Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is included below. This is the guy that was President of the cat litter foundation. Please convince me that he was qualified for the position and "their political affiliation has zero to do with why their decision was right/wrong."

The bottom line is this is a political failure. The political appointees put in place by the party in power lacked the experience and management capabilities to correctly operate the water utility.

At the end of the day, the political appointees still have to accomplish what they were hired to do.

Unlike the private sector where people are rarely held responsible for their failures, in the government sector, you are more likely to be held accountable.



RE: Flint Municipal water

Quote (JohnRBaker)

As Micheal Moore has stated, who was born and raised in Flint and who still has family there himself, if this had been Grosse Point or Birmingham, two very wealthy (and predominantly White) cities near Detroit, this would have never been allowed to happen.

Could that be because the more affluent/educated folks are more likely to take an interest in the day-to-day runnings of the machine they live in, at least compared to the less affluent/educated?

I don't have evidence either way, so it truly is a question, but the assertion seems relatively plausible...

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Flint Municipal water

"At the end of the day, the political appointees still have to accomplish what they were hired to do."

But, they're hired to run an organization have have subordinates who are all supposed to know their stuff. The CEO of Boeing isn't necessarily going to know the ins and outs of the navigation system on a 787. If he ignored expert advice, then sure, he should be canned and blacklisted.

As for wealthy/educated, while there's correlation for many such things that are labeled as racial or class bias, it's unclear which is the cause and which is the effect. Certainly, one can argue that those that are able, can move and find places that are better to live in; the converse is that they make wherever they live better, which smacks of trickle-down, which I don't subscribe to. I once was made to spend study time with the son of a friend of my mother, on the premise that my educational performance could somehow transfer to the other person through some sort of osmosis, which is, in essence, a form of trickle-down.

There have been studies that show that people move to live with like minded, and presumably, similarly situated, people. Chicken, egg?

TTFN
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RE: Flint Municipal water

Isn't there a Godwin's law for both Michael Moore and the playing of the race card? Good lord. There was both technical and political failure for this to have happened. It's insidious to continually draw upon the down-trodden flavor of the day as a contributing factor to the varied ills of the world.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Try telling that to the people of Flint and the 8,000, mostly African-American children under the age of six, who have just been given a third-strike due to the fact they're probably going to suffer permanent mental and psychological damage that will reduce their chances of living the American dream even more so than what their prospects were before this happened.

John R. Baker, P.E.
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Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

"Could that be because the more affluent/educated folks are more likely to take an interest in the day-to-day runnings of the machine they live in, at least compared to the less affluent/educated?"

This is so wrong on any number of counts. Example: What do you know about the water system in your own community? Probably nothing.

RE: Flint Municipal water

"But, they're hired to run an organization have subordinates who are all supposed to know their stuff. The CEO of Boeing isn't necessarily going to know the ins and outs of the navigation system on a 787. If he ignored expert advice, then sure, he should be canned and blacklisted."

Isn't Boeing the company with the overheating batteries? Did the CEO get canned for that? What a role model they are. Tombstone engineering in practice.

RE: Flint Municipal water

But, the CEO of Boeing has ZERO oversight of a component of a component of a component of an airplane, particularly given that the CEO isn't even in the same part of the country as the plane manufacturing facility, and is nowhere near the manufacturing facility of the battery maker. There are probably 15 levels of people between the CEO and the battery engineer; he presumably has people that he thinks are relatively competent below him, as do the people below him think about their subordinates. Boeing is known as a "system of systems" integrator and they tend to subcontract almost everything, including batteries. So, even the actual responsible engineer might not know all the bad news that his subcontractor tried to hide from him.

Sure, you can make him fall on his sword, but that's just for spite. To apply the converse, any successful product must make that same CEO an utter genius, which we know is not true either. There are very few companies where the CEO makes day to day decisions on products; Steve Jobs, was both an exception to that rule, as well as someone who managed to have a successful company while doing it. 30 years ago, any "secretary" who wanted to have a job had to know "Wang," which was one of the first word processors built by Wang Computers. An Wang was famous for being a micromanager, and he micromanaged his entire company into oblivion and abyss of history. We had a similar situation with a general manager at about the same time. He was a seriously techie, and would argue fine points about technology or math that flew over the heads of most of the audiences at design reviews where he did that. But, that engineering fervor made him a crappy manager, whose subordinates were loathe to interact with him, which resulted in the division spinning out of control and eventually being taken over by another division and disappearing from history.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
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RE: Flint Municipal water

The bottom line is that this utility was selling a product (water) and the customers were unhappy with the product that they were buying. Ignoring the problems (real or supposed) did not make the problems go away.

RE: Flint Municipal water

7
I see a lot of talking going on in this thread, by people who have obviously been getting their information from the national news. I'd like to make a couple of points here. For reference, I went to college in Flint, still have deep ties to that area, and still live in Michigan now.

1) Please don't attempt to push your own personal political agenda by making this a partisan issue. It isn't one. I would go so far as to state that there are people in certain parts of the media network that are seeing this as an opportunity to erode support for the Republican government that is currently in place, and have not been squeamish about misrepresenting certain facts to make that happen. See below. In short, please keep the politics out of it. If you want political discussion there are other boards where you can get it.

1a) There were many failures in government that lead to this problem developing- but not all of them were Republican state officials. Former Flint mayor Walling contacted the (recently resigned...) EPA administrator for the Flint district and was rebuffed.

2) It is 100% true that there has been a recent outbreak of Legionella in the mid-Michigan area that corresponds with the change of Flint's drinking water source. What the national media is NOT reporting, however, is that a significant portion of the people who contracted Legionnaire's disease, including some of the resulting deaths, during this period are not residents of the part of Genesee County where drinking water is provided by the river. The highest peak of the Genesee County Legionella outbreak still represents fewer cases than in other areas of the state, including Oakland county, which does not get its water from the Flint River system. (55 cases in Genesee County in 2015; 51 cases in Wayne County and 65 cases in Oakland County in 2013) Point is, was (is..) there a Legionella outbreak in the Flint area? Yes. Does it represent a huge outlier relative to Legionella cases in other parts of the state? Not really. Can the Legionella outbreak be CONCLUSIVELY tied to the change in source of Flint's water? NO.

3) Someone has already covered this, but the source of lead contamination is not the Flint river water, or the city mains- it is the drops that connect the mains to individual buildings and homes. Some of the children who have suffered extreme lead exposure live on the same block as other children whose blood tests resulted in zero lead found. This is obviously a huge problem, and in no way am I attempting to downplay that, but it is a huge problem that has to be diagnosed on a case-by-case basis- it is not nearly as simple as the media is depicting it to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water


Well said jgKRI. it is the drops that connect the mains to individual buildings and homes.
These drops were there a long time ago.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Could a charcoal filter on each of these homes (<$200/home) stop the problem?

Thanks,
Mark

RE: Flint Municipal water

Interesting that you post "Please don't attempt to push your own personal political agenda by making this a partisan issue.";

and then your place some blame on the regional EPA administrator.

Just to be clear, this person was the regional EPA administrator responsible for serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and 35 Tribes.

That area has a population of over 50 million and you hold her partly responsible?

No sir, the republicans managing Michigan are responsible.

If you want a better source of information, go to the Flint website. It is all there.

https://www.cityofflint.com/public-works/utilities...

RE: Flint Municipal water

"Could a charcoal filter on each of these homes (<$200/home) stop the problem?"

Yes, you could install devices in homes. However, what happens frequently is that the devices are not properly maintained by the homeowners, so this remedy is not the preferred approach to solving these types of problems.

RE: Flint Municipal water

So the EPA, whose responsibility, specifically, is the quality of things like drinking water, is not culpable at all because Flint represents a very small part of their area of responsibility?

Well, the government of the State of Michigan covers about 10 million people. So they must not be responsible either.

Read this part carefully:

It is a simple fact that the EPA District 5 administration knew about potentially dangerous water contamination in the Flint system as early as April. Instead of warning the population of the area in question, she downplayed her staff's analysis and waited on advice from the legal team about her own vulnerability because of the problem- allowing residents to unknowingly drink contaminated water for almost 6 months.

Does that sound like ethical, blameless behavior to you?

The fact that the government is currently Republican has nothing to do with the fact that Flint is struggling to survive, and that budget cuts needed to be made. This isn't poli-tips.com. Take your divisive arguments somewhere else.

RE: Flint Municipal water

The bottom line appears that those who caused the problems are either gone, hiding, or somehow won't be taking the blame. That seems to be the operating procedure for many insects.

I have to give some thanks to anyone who admits they made a mistake. They should be held accountable yes, but less than the insects that run from there mistakes.

As for private companies, they do often hold the people accountable. But because of the laws of this country, the files on employees must be closed to the public. So what happens is the news people can't report on what happens to those people. Also the CEO of most private companies are not technical people, they are sales people, sort of like the head of most government agencies are political heads (or hacks).

RE: Flint Municipal water

Assume you are not familiar with the drinking water business and get most of your news from the corporate media.

For your information, the State of Michigan is the responsible enforcement authority for drinking water.

"The DEQ has primary enforcement authority in Michigan for the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act under the legislative authority of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act. As such, the division has regulatory oversight for all public water supplies, including approximately 1,500 community water supplies and 10,000 noncommunity water supplies. The program regulates the water well drilling industry. Michigan has nearly (1.12 million) households served by private wells, with approximately 15,000 domestic wells drilled each year. The DEQ also investigates drinking water well contamination, and oversees remedial activities at sites of groundwater contamination affecting drinking water wells."

http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3675...

The Governor of Michigan appointed someone with zero environmental experience to oversee this progam.

RE: Flint Municipal water

While I am not in the drinking water business, I understand what has actually happened during this crisis more than a lot of people, because I actually live and work in the area where it is happening.

The EPA's responsibility, by definition, is the protection of human health.

If you're the head of an EPA district, and you hear that an area under your jurisdiction has a drinking water condition which will potentially have a huge negative impact on the long-term health of the residents of that area, what is your response? Is that information you feel you should sit on for 6-8 months without notifying anyone?

My point in bringing up the EPA was to point out that there are many parties involved- some of them Republican (the governor), some of them Democrat (the city council that voted for the change in supply, the emergency city manager who proposed the change in supply to the city council, the list goes on) and some of them non-partisan (the EPA, at least in theory).

I'm sure there are people on this board who know more about the specifics of drinking water supply systems than I ever will- and I have no problem with admitting that.

What I do have a problem with is people applying a political agenda where it doesn't belong. Republicans didn't create this problem by simply being Republicans.

RE: Flint Municipal water

So your point is that the federal government should have stepped in. Appointed an emergency manager in place of the Michigan governor. Same thing that the governor did to Flint. Everything would then have been great.

When Richard Nixon founded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by executive order, politicians of all stripes agreed the US needed reforms, even if it cost a small amount of economic growth. Yet, after four decades of the EPA's helping to improve our land, air and water quality, ask whether we need federal regulation and the answer depends on whom you question.

Ask ordinary people in the US and, according to a 2011 Pew survey, 71% respond, across the political spectrum, that they agree with the statement, "This country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment."

Ask most Republican politicians, some Democrats and the polluting industries that provide them substantial funding, and you'll get a very different answer.

The majority of the right wingnuts running for President want to do away with the EPA. You can't have it both ways.

An independent task force appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to review the situation placed the bulk of the blame for Flint’s crisis on the DEQ.

RE: Flint Municipal water

No, that's not my point at all.

My main point is that the Governor being a Republican, and not a Democrat, is not a root cause of the problem. Full stop. That's all I'm saying.

Other posters in this thread implied that if the Governor was not a Republican, this would not have happened.

A secondary point is that in my mind, someone at the EPA should have informed the population of the affected area IMMEDIATELY when it was confirmed that the drinking water was dangerous. That would have been the ethical thing to do, regardless of what steps were taken up and down the bureaucracy after the fact.

With regard to the chain of command in solving the issue, absolutely the DEQ is the organization that should be managing this type of local crisis. That doesn't make it OK for those in the know at the EPA to not inform the affected citizens.

RE: Flint Municipal water

It is as simple as this:

An independent task force appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to review the situation placed the bulk of the blame for Flint’s crisis on the DEQ.

Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Dan Wyant as Director of the DEQ.

A state lawmaker whose district covers a part of Flint says he appealed to several high-ranking officials, including Gov. Rick Snyder, within the last year warning them about water quality.

"More than a year ago, we knew something was wrong when the residents of Flint began seeing their water come from the taps in their homes cloudy and brown," said State Representative Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint) in a statement Friday. "We didn't know it at the time, but this was the first indication that lead was leaching into the water supply for the entire community, causing a health hazard that has spurred Flint into the national spotlight and caused decades of health problems for our citizens."

Neeley's letter to Snyder, dated Jan. 29, 2015, starts out by saying the city of Flint "stands on the precipice of civil unrest."


RE: Flint Municipal water

(OP)
What can we do to promote the ethical action when the decision that almost certainly came to a technical professional comes to one of us or a colleague? Could one person or a group of people spoken up or refused to execute a harmful act? How many kept their head down because they couldn't afford to lose their job?

A local former police officer, Cariole Horne lost her job and pension for intervening when a fellow officer started to strangle a suspect. She is raising money for a whistleblower fund to mitigate the financial impact of similar ethical actions on those to commit them.

RE: Flint Municipal water

2
A few thoughts:

Responsibility is not a zero-sum game. The MDEQ and the emergency manger screwed up but it does'nt follow that the EPA is without blame. Or vice versa.

A recurring question in this thread is, if more technical knowledgeable people had been involved as decision makers, the fiasco would have been prevented. I'm not sure, but how to find out? Where I live and work (Germany) management culture is different and most federal/state/municipal agencies tasked with water or environment are staffed and lead by engineers and the like (I've once worked under three layers of management, all geologists). But the whole culture around environmental protection is different over here.

I think moon161's question is valid: What can we do to promote the ethical action when the decision that almost certainly came to a technical professional comes to one of us or a colleague? Could one person or a group of people spoken up or refused to execute a harmful act? How many kept their head down because they couldn't afford to lose their job?

First, this should be a non-issue - if you work at an EPA or MDEQ or whatever, the ethical option should also be the one that has you keep your job.
It seems in Flint a bad decision was made. Maybe without expert input, maybe despite expert input, or maybe because the expert delivered the input desired by the decision makers.
The first 2 possibilities raise the question if said experts could have raised the issue with the public or professional organizations or the EPA sooner.
The last raises the question: Why did it happen that way, what did the management do to produce this result? What would you or I do in this situation?

RE: Flint Municipal water

This has now made news in the UK. See and at the bottom are more stories. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/24/fli...

Not easy to piece together who actually "signed it off" or what studies were actually done to see what impact changing water source would have. However there is a body of evidence that it has taken a long time to get some action.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Flint Municipal water

MartinLe,

The MDEQ is acronym for the Michigan environmental protection agency. The MDEQ is a state agency and has primary responsibility for drinking water. The federal EPA has oversight responsibility over the states' activities, and is not responsible for day to day supervision of the state agencies.

In general. there are usually technical personnel involved in these agencies. However, political appointees populate the upper levels of management. The Michigan Governor appointed a person with zero environmental experience to lead the MDEQ.

As to Flint, the people involved in making the water decision underestimated the scope to change the water supply. One of the reasons that the scope was underestimated was the lack of technical expertise of the people making the decision.

The existing backup Flint water treatment plant was taken out of service over 50 years ago. The water treatment plant was a lime softening filtration system that was considerably more complicated to operate. Since the plant was taken out of service over 50 years ago, the Flint water department activities have involved just the pumping of water in a distribution system, not operating at treatment plant.

Knowing that the Flint was lacking funds, it is difficult to imagine that the City had the management and organization skills to put the 50 year water treatment facility back on line.

RE: Flint Municipal water

So who is the finger pointing at today? Does it really matter who the political finger pointing at, when the actual decision makers might escape with no adverse effects?

Yes the government is there to protect us, but who is protecting us from the government, and there bad decisions? The same thing can happen in other places, and the cause is the people don't take the time to get involved, ask questions, read water quality reports.

I assume water quality reports are required, as everywhere I've lived they have been required.

RE: Flint Municipal water

The guilty finger is obviously pointing to the politicians that are in charge of the State of Michigan.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/michigan-epa-at-odds-o...

Instead of fixing the problem, the Michigan politicians want to question the legality of the EPA directive to the MDEQ to fix the problem:

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/201...

Governor Snyder who obviously did not learn his lesson when he previously appointed the President of the kitty litter foundation to head the MDEQ, has appointed another person with zero environmental experience to replace him. Did Snyder learn anything from this fiasco?

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Keith Creagh.

http://www.mirsnews.com/dept_bio.php?lid=2

https://www.linkedin.com/in/keith-creagh-0012a149

All of the water data and reports are available on Flint's website:

https://www.cityofflint.com/public-works/utilities...

RE: Flint Municipal water

It looks like Snyder replaced an ex-lobbyist with an ex-public relations person. What could be better than that?

However, I may have to give the new guy the benefit of the doubt as he's an alum from my old alma mater smarty

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Yes, I suspect that the 'public officials' in that photo showing them celebrating the switch-over to the Flint River, by offering a toast WITH water FROM the Flint River, would just as soon forget that they ever saw that photo.

As a wise man once said; "Karma can be a real bitch."

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

(OP)
"Responsibility is not a zero-sum game."

I like this idea. I'm going to think about it for a while.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Same thing DuPont is struggling with, C8. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as C8 and perfluorooctanoate, is a synthetic perfluorinated carboxylic acid and fluorosurfactant. DuPont has released this persistent pollutant on the entire world.

http://www.ewg.org/research/poisoned-legacy/lab-ac...

RE: Flint Municipal water

(OP)
Oh my, I lived in Troilet Troy, NY for a year or so, also near GE's Waterford factory/superfund site. A stone's throw from Hoosic falls.

RE: Flint Municipal water

That's a great theory, but what does it have to do with not putting anti-corrosion materials in the water?
I heard, and please correct me if it's wrong, but that anti-corrosion additives were required by law.

And don't expect the EPA to do anything except to spill mine water into the rivers like they did in Colorado.

RE: Flint Municipal water

cranky108,

Your online handle says it all.

Anti-corrosion materials are not required. However, water shall be stabilized as in the attachment.

The orthophosphate chemical that has been talked about in the news is not the best approach to stabilization and is no longer the best approach.

Regarding the Colorado Gold King mine, the problem predates the EPA. If you want a balanced article on the Colorado mines, review the article. The Gold King Mine water was headed for the Animas River, anyway:

http://www.hcn.org/articles/acid-mine-drainage-exp...

RE: Flint Municipal water

Those are Democrats, just in case you're keeping score at home.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Having lived in Michigan until I was 33 and then again for 17 months back in the mid-80's, there has always been a sort anti-Detroit attitude in the rest of the state, sort of like the L.A. versus the rest of California out here. I suspect that some of the motivation for the so-called Genesee County water agency was simply to allow them to say that they didn't need to depend on Detroit for their water. Anyone who has actually spent time in Michigan knows that there's water virtually everywhere (they claim that Michigan is the hardest state to die of thirst in since no matter where you are, walking in any direction, you'll encounter some sort of open water, good enough to at least sustain life, within two miles or less) so thinking that you have to have it piped in from 70 miles away would grate on many people's sensibilities. And if you don't believe me about the anti-Detorit 'paranoia', just check-out the city of Eastpointe and how it came by it's current name (the Wiki article says it all).

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

2
A good, seemingly nonbiased summary from the 538 site, with a focus on what mistakes (or deliberate wrongdoing) occurred after the switch to Flint River water was made, and elevated lead levels started showing up in water samples and blood tests:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-went-wron...

One of my takeaways from this sad situation is that it has reminded me to further consider the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law, in situations I may encounter. It certainly seems like Michigan state officials were doing everything they could to barely achieve compliance with the “letter of the law”, while disregarding the spirit of the law. Read the 538 story. It seems the state tossed out two of the water samples because they were not in compliance with sampling protocol. Doing so allowed them to just barely claim compliance with the lead action limit standard (though there were other aspects of their sampling plan that were flawed, which certainly should have called into question the validity of the overall results).

I’m angered when I think about the state’s response to the pediatrician who presented her Flint data on rising lead levels in area children (also described in the story). It seems the state’s response was to attack her credibility and downplay / blow off her findings. They should have been thanking her for raising another red flag.

Two Michigan MDEQ officials have been suspended. Their names were initially withheld, though various news stories have given their names in the last day.

The engineering firm that designed the Flint water treatment plant upgrades was Lockwood Andrews Newnam, a division of Leo A Daly. At least one news story I saw included a link to pdfs of the City permit applications filed with the MDEQ.

I’m still baffled by why there was apparently no corrosion control program put in place when the switch to river water was made. Orthophosphates are commonly used, though some on this forum have pointed out that they are not the perfect solution, and we could discuss opinions about what the best approach to corrosion control would be. It just seems, from what we have heard so far, that there was no corrosion control implemented. One of the suspended MDEQ officials is on record as telling EPA (in one of the released emails) that Flint had implemented a corrosion control program. He was either lying, or being given incorrect information by either the City or by people at MDEQ giving him information.

If I was the design engineer, for my own selfish reasons, I would be hoping that my design report or basis of design included a recommendation to use corrosion control, and I could provide evidence that my recommendation was later overruled by my client or regulators.

RE: Flint Municipal water

HEHurst, it is nice to see a post that does not point at political parties. People make bad decisions and all political parties include people.

Government also includes people, and we should be pointing out bad government so to hold the people in government accountable.

There are plenty of things we can hold up to show the short falls of the EPA, and we should. Including not acting when they should.
I am on the EPA mainly because they try to show themselves as being the center of importance.

I do know the Gold Mine was an issue that started decades ago, but it is now in the hands of the EPA.



RE: Flint Municipal water

HEHurst. Don't forget the operator of the water treatment plant. It is required by law to have a person in responsible charge of a water treatment plant. The operator is not just responsible for the spirit of the law. The operator is the hands on person in charge. The operator accepts responsibility by signing and certifying documents.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-glasgow-21b881...
https://www.linkedin.com/in/brent-wright-65612213?...
http://www.deq.state.mi.us/otcis/otcis.aspx

From the linkedin resume, it does not appear that the operator had the necessary qualifications and experience to operate a treatment plant. No previous treatment plant experience is listed.

The operator of the Flint treatment plant is the first person that is responsible for this mess. All of the laws and regulations are already in place to prevent the problem in the first place. The enforcement by MDEQ is just lacking:

"(p) "Operator in charge" means a certified operator who is designated by the owner of a public water supply as the responsible individual in overall charge of a waterworks system, or portion of a waterworks system, who makes decisions regarding the daily operational activities of the system that will directly impact the quality or quantity of drinking water."

"The department shall review and approve the addition of a new source or long-term change in treatment before it is implemented by the water supply. Examples of long-term treatment changes include the addition of a new treatment process or modification of an existing treatment process. Examples of modifications include switching secondary disinfectants, switching coagulants (for example, alum to ferric chloride), and switching corrosion inhibitor products (for example, orthophosphate to blended phosphate). Long- term changes can include dose changes to existing chemicals if the supply is planning long-term changes to its finished water pH or residual inhibitor concentration. Long-term treatment changes would not include chemical dose fluctuations associated with daily raw water quality changes."

http://w3.lara.state.mi.us/orr/Files/AdminCode/134...

RE: Flint Municipal water

It appears that for better than a year, including the time period during which state officials were telling the residents of Flint that it was OK to continue consuming the water coming to their homes from the city's water system, that the state had been supplying bottled water for their own employees working in state owned and operated office buildings in the city:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/flint-governme...

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Snyder helped deliver 1,500 water filters to Flint-area pastors in August, even as his officials assured the public the water was safe. The pastors were given the filters to distribute on the condition they didn't talk about it publicly, MLive reports.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/flint-governme...

However, Snyder is now saying he found out in October.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/27/us/michigan-governor...

Now, Gov. Snyder Wants $41 Million From Feds For Flint Water Fix

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2016/01/15/gov-snyder-...

The governor said Friday that the needs of people in Flint “far exceed the state’s capability” — and Michigan needs help

"But the governor bristled at the implication that he'd emphasized things such as business tax cuts at the expense of funding infrastructure. A corporate income tax plan Snyder pushed through the state's legislature cut business taxes by $1.7 billion a year."

Meanwhile, the science deniers running congress want to take a whack at the EPA, but not Snyder.

http://michiganradio.org/post/congress-will-grill-...

The hearings will be run by Jason Chaffetz:

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/3043328-155/rolly-ch...

RE: Flint Municipal water

Are you even reading your own links?

Why would the governor know or care that one of the 1,000 state owned buildings in the state added some water coolers?

This witch hunt you're on is pretty transparent.

RE: Flint Municipal water

jgKRI, if you were referring to my post above, please point out where I ever mention the Governor? If you read what I did post, you'll see where I stated "...that the state had been supplying bottled water for their own employees…". Now I suppose one could equate the "state" with the governor, but that was not my intention.

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

You might try reading the link, yourself.

"Why would the governor know or care that one of the 1,000 state owned buildings in the state added some water coolers?"

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) manages 6.7 million square feet of facility space via 568 leases. Behen (DTMB Director and Michigan CIO ) holds a seat on Governor Rick Snyder’s Cabinet, advising the governor on technology investments and implementing innovative IT programs.

http://www.michigan.gov/dtmb/0,5552,7-150-9131-251...

From the looks of his resume, he appears to be another unqualified political appointee of Governor Snyder.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidbehen

By the way, the number of state owned office buildings is substantially less than 1,000:

http://www.michigan.gov/dtmb/0,5552,7-150-9141_566...

Regarding a witch hunt, don't think it is necessary. Governor Snyder insists he is responsible.

"There was a failure of government in terms of people not using common sense enough to prevent this from happening and identifying it soon enough ... and the people that did this work for me, so I am responsible," Snyder says. "My focus now, though is how do we address it? How do we follow up? How do we help these parents and these kids that could go on for years?"

One of the reasons for the situation in Flint is that the MDEQ has suffered decades of budget cuts.

Although the level of state employment has not changed significantly in the last 20 years, the composition has. Exhibit 3 groups state workers into six general categories: human services, general government, regulatory, safety and defense (including corrections), agriculture and natural resources, and transportation. The composition of the state-government work force has changed primarily in two areas.

The human services category (social services, mental health, and public health) has declined sharply, from comprising 52 percent of state employment in the late 1970s to 33 percent today.

The safely and defense category (including State Police and Corrections) has increased dramatically, from 13 percent of the total in the late 1970s to 34 percent today; in the Department of Corrections alone, state employment has more than tripled.


RE: Flint Municipal water

From the link you posted, JohnRBaker:

"The emails are the latest evidence that Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and his administration at multiple junctures failed to take the water crisis seriously or take timely action."

Since you and bimr quoted the same link, it's in his post as well. He was the one I was intent on responding too, but since you posted the same link, for that particular article the same response applies. The bit about the witch hunt wasn't aimed at you.

It's pretty apparent to me that bimr isn't going to able to separate his own personal political agenda from a rational look at what actually happened in flint.

If you want to continue to evaluate the flint water situation by reading Huffpost and claiming you know what REALLY happened, well... Go ahead. I hope that people who want an unbiased look at the facts disregard your posts.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Please keep in mind that I'm from Michigan, my wife lived in Flint when she was in Junior High and she still has a couple cousins living there that she's in regular contact with, so this a bit more personal. And while I did reference that particular item, the issue that I was focusing on was that while state and city officials were telling the residents of Flint that the water was safe to drink, someone in Lansing was quietly going out of their way to protect state employees working in Flint. That was the issue I was trying to highlight. And if it's true that this was done knowing what was being told to the average citizen, then this could be construed as culpable at best, criminal at worst.

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

jgKRI,

You seem to have all of the answers. Lets have your explanation.

If you read my posts above, it is clear what happened.

Rick Snyder appoints a kitty litter foundation president in charge of the MDEQ.

An out of control Karegnondi Water Authority wants to set up their own pipeline and water treatment plant to replace Detroit's system.

The MDEQ does not stop them and approves it.

The City of Flint decides to temporarily reopen their own water treatment plant until the Karegnondi Water Authority facility is complete. However, the City of Flint lacks the money, resources, or personnel to accomplish this.

The MDEQ does not stop them and approves it.

The City of Flint operates with poor water quality.

The MDEQ does not stop them and approves it.

But as you offer, it is all the responsibility of those government over-reachers and job-killing regulators at the EPA.

RE: Flint Municipal water

So you are saying the City of Flint, the MDEQ and the EPA all colluded under the leadership of the Rick Snyder?
That seems like a theory from the Whitewater Hotel.

I suspect there might be some bad people in government, but I doubt they colluded to make this mess. It seems more like government failure on several levels, and now they are all finger pointing to direct attention away from there own failures.

Can you prove any meetings between these three groups and Rick Snyder, where lowering water quality was discussed?

Why are you so angry with the one person who admits he is responsible? Why aren't you angry with the finger pointers who refuse to admit they made a mistake?

RE: Flint Municipal water

Who says anyone colluded?

Who says anything about lowering water quality criteria?

All of the following decisions were approved by the MDEQ and require legal permission; the decisions are not something that can be approved without a formal review by the MDEQ. Each one of these decisions requires authorization in writing.

1. An out of control Karegnondi Water Authority wants to set up their own pipeline and water treatment plant to replace Detroit's system.

2. The City of Flint decides to temporarily reopen their own water treatment plant until the Karegnondi Water Authority facility is complete.

3. The City of Flint operates with poor water quality.

The MDEQ could have prevented this from happening.

The Director of the MDEQ approved these decisions. He reports to Rick Snyder.

RE: Flint Municipal water

I lived in MI for about 7 years and turned down a job before I left.

There is something in-bred in MI that seems to strike all politicians and it probably not carried by the water. - This leads to utterly ignoring laws and common sense. The crime levels are a prime example.

The company I worked for would not allow us to take a car south of Flint (the dividing line at the time). One exception was to get a flight out of The Detroit airport if the company plane was not available or the commuter line was filled.

Sometimes a good engineering study does not go far unless the results cannot be recognized or enforced.

Dick

Engineer and international traveler interested in construction techniques, problems and proper design.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Hope they find out how at the City of Flint was responsible.

RE: Flint Municipal water

More nonsense from the MDEQ:

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/fli...

"As the testimony got underway Wednesday, Beauvais shook his head for the committee as Creagh again maintained that federal rules allowed the state DEQ to test for about two years before requiring corrosion controls in Flint, even though the state has already acknowledged it should have required those treatments beforehand to make sure the water was safe."

The existing MDEQ water regulations require treatment for corrosion. Here is the link:

http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3675...

Page 81: http://www.10statesstandards.com/waterrev2012.pdf

Impossible to understand how Rick Snyder can appoint another incompetent unqualified person to head the MDEQ.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/keith-creagh-0012a149

https://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/128474/k...

RE: Flint Municipal water

It is a fact that the GM plant switched water sources back to the Lake Huron system.

There's a lot of other stuff in that article that is either a stretch, or not true at all.

Such as saying that every single resident of the city has been exposed to lead-contaminated water. Not the case.

As usual, I'd take any statement from Michael Moore with a grain of salt.

RE: Flint Municipal water

And my understanding is that the state footed the bill to reconnect GM to the Detroit municipal water system, another cost that needs to be added to the total of the 'savings' NOT realized by this decision.

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Flint Municipal water

I hate to say this, but sometimes it makes since for a government agency to spend money to help business.
Normally I would be very fast to say that building an arena to keep a sports team is bad for the people, and paying to connecting a business to a water source seems to be a bad idea.

The bottom line is, there are things that government can do that business can't. The ability to take land for the public good, if used right, is a positive thing. If used wrong it is a negative thing.

I heard it said once that the solution to land gridlock is to allow everyone to value there land at what they think its worth. They can pay taxes on there reported land value, and anyone can purchase that land for the reported land value.

RE: Flint Municipal water

That's old information dude.

It's still not clear that the Legionella outbreak is the direct result of the change to Flint River water. The chart that shows legionella infections in Genesee County leaves out the fact that that spike resulted in a big number of cases involving people who do not get their drinking water from the Flint River. I posted this earlier in the thread.

RE: Flint Municipal water

The GM aspect of the Flint story is very odd. The story states that the chloride level of the water increased causing rust to appear on metal parts. However, the range of 50 to 60 milligrams of chloride per liter that is present in the Flint River water is not unusual and would not normally be of any concern.

http://www.npl.co.uk/upload/pdf/basics_of_corrosio...

Chloride corrosion is not something that happens instantaneously, it is a long term problem. A bigger problem than the chlorides would have been the increased amount of salts in the water which would leave white residue as the water evaporates. There may have been issues with iron in the water as there are pictures of red water being flushed from water hydrants.

It is interesting to see people holding colored samples of water indicating the water is bad. The color has nothing to do with lead contamination.

https://www.autonews.com/article/20160131/OEM01/30...

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2014/10/...

It was relatively easy to tap into the township’s pipes to replace the Flint River water because the infrastructure was already in place. It may have been easier to replace the water than to determine if there was a problem.

My opinion is that the GM story is a red herring.

RE: Flint Municipal water

There are many aspects of this Flint story that defy conventional logic.

However, simple reasoning would have one conclude that the MDEQ was operating in a rouge manner. For those not familiar with the water business, the water business is highly regulated with extensive regulation fully enacted in law. A water department like Flint is not allowed to make any changes without permission from the state water agency (MDEQ).

The EPA affordability guidelines state that water costs should be less than 2.5% of MHI. With an MHI of $28,000 in Flint, that would limit the water bills to $60 per month. Yet, the average water bill in Flint was $140.

http://usmayors.org/urbanwater/media/2013/0529-rep...

The MDEQ should have been actively looking for ways to reduce the cost of water to Flint. Instead, the MDEQ was approving grandiose projects that Flint was incapable of paying for. Being an older community with old piping, it was reported that there was a significant amount of water lost to pipe leaks. Normally, an agency like the MDEQ requires these leaks to be repaired prior to new construction. Otherwise, the new facilities are oversized and uneconomical for the residents. Flint is also paying for the lost water.

In planning for new water facilities like Flint was undertaking, the state agencies like the MDEQ will not permit new projects that cause unaffordable water rates. These scenarios have occurred in the past and the state agencies work to prevent them from happening. Many times the state will help pay for new facilities with grants and the state does not want to promote a wasteful project.

Not to minimize the impact or consequences, the lead aspect also defies logic. Why did the MDEQ authorize the City of Flint to operate the water treatment plant and to operate the water treatment plant with inadequate management? Just to be clear, the state equivalent of the federal EPA such as the MDEQ will require an application to construct a water treatment plant and will then provide an operating permit when the facility is completed. Had the Flint River water treatment plant been operating correctly, there would not have been a lead problem. And then why did the MDEQ allow the situation to go on for so long?

One would expect that the person signing the documents at the Flint River water treatment plant will eventually be prosecuted. Incompetence is not an excuse.

Most state water agencies have accepted primary responsibility for water systems from the EPA. To obtain this responsibility, these state agencies had to provide evidence that they had the capabilities to handle the responsibilities. The MDEQ has demonstrated in the Flint fiasco that the MDEQ is no longer capable of this responsibility.

The immediate problem was lead in the water, but there are many other important aspects.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/06/opinion/the-repu...













RE: Flint Municipal water

I looked over the August 15, 2015 operating data. It is pretty clear to me that the Flint Water Treatment plant did not know how to operate a lime softening plant. The final pH at the tap is around 7.3. It should come out of the plant at 8.5. In addition to not knowing how to run a plant they were wasting money by adding too much CO2(??) or some type of acid to bring the pH down after they lime softened. They CAUSED the water to be aggressive. Why the operators were allowed to run the plant will be the subject of a lot of discussions. The fact that they were trying to save money by switching water sources is very ironic. It costs a lot of money per thousand gallons to run a water softening plant compared to a Great Lakes sourced water plant. I wonder how much they were saving at the end of the day.

I would also like to comment that the plant is using ferric chloride as a flocculant. Ferric chloride is very corrosive. You are adding iron and chlorides into the water. Overdosing ferric chloride will create the brown water samples that have widely been seen. Ferric chloride is very corrosive and bacteria can hide behind the ferric ions or ferric sludge if the water is not dosed properly or flocculated and settled properly. I suspect that is why they chlorinated so much. Ferric chloride will eat through metal and concrete. It is only effective at a certain pH range. If it is improperly dosed...watch out.

Sounds like "spreadsheet jockey managers" were put in decision making positions that they should not have been in the first place. These people have been able to maneuver themselves into positions that they are not qualified to do. Bullshit baffles brains and in this case bullshit maims people for life

RE: Flint Municipal water

I have designed and added a phosphoric acid system at all the water treatment plants in Toronto in order to meet the lead and copper rule. It works.

RE: Flint Municipal water

QualityTime, that is what I posted above. The MDEQ certified an operator with zero experience to operate the plant. His resume is posted above.

RE: Flint Municipal water

The vast majority of the news stories and comments herein fail to recognize the simple truth that this Flint MI drinking water contamination by lead supply pipes is entirely a water chemistry issue that can and should be solved by treating the raw water at the city-owned treatment plants to mitigate the natural corrosivity of the water, which is leaching lead from the 80-year old water supply pipes.

The water source is NOT toxic NOR is it corrosive! This is a simple water chemistry engineering problem that should never have been allowed to happen, AND can economically be addressed through better water treatment. Everyone should stop being a victim, in need of a $1 Billion solution when the issues are relatively simple to fix, and can be done in a matter of weeks - months, not years - decades.

RE: Flint Municipal water

Regarding the "issues are relatively simple to fix, and can be done in a matter of weeks - months, not years - decades."

The problem is actually much more complicated and was years in the making:

Decades of underfunding the MDEQ by the politicians has diminished the effectiveness of the MDEQ oversight such that MDEQ:
Certified an operator with no experience to operate the water treatment plant.
Permitted the construction of a new water treatment plant that the City is incapable of paying for.
Permitted the startup and operation of the 50 year old water treatment plan

RE: Flint Municipal water

My post above is just about correcting the water treatment issue. The other issues at play are:


  • The State is trying to get the Feds to pony up large amounts of GRANT money anyway that they can. The money can be used for a lot of things…other than helping the Flint residents. What better way is there to get it than to create mass hysteria by using the media to say they need to replace all of Flint’s watermains and water treatment plant? If this happens a lot of people will all of a sudden be showing off their brand new shiny yachts
  • The City probably does not have the staff that can operate a lime softening plant
  • Bureaucrats and engineers at the City and State level who know what the real story is are not saying anything because they want to protect their jobs.
  • It is all about getting someone else to pay for it by playing the game of turning a negative into a positive and have the Feds share the stress. The whole thing is politically motivated.


  • RE: Flint Municipal water

    Of course there is some of that going on, but you are being overly cynical.

    The MDEQ had multiple opportunities to prevent this event from happening in the first place and likely did not do so because of the political pressure from the politicians in control of the state.



    RE: Flint Municipal water

    So which is it- is the MDEQ competent but handcuffed by the Republicans you so despise, or or they incompetent because of the Republicans you so despise?

    "The MDEQ should have been actively looking for ways to reduce the cost of water to Flint."

    They were. The KWA is an organization that, if their plan comes together, should be able to do EXACTLY that.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    You did not read or understand the rest of it.

    There is no logical method that someone can build a brand new water treatment plant and 70 mile pipeline that is 6 feet in diameter and then operate it for less than what an old existing water treatment plant and pipeline cost to operate. If someone comes to you and proposes such a scheme, is it believable?

    Detroit actually cut the water rate when plans for the KWA project were in the works. And Detroit was turned down.

    There are similar projects to the KWA in other states. The politicians put their friends on these agency boards as political favors at fat salaries. Who pays for that?

    A municipality that purchases water from an agency like Detroit or the KWA is still going to pay whatever the market will bear. Formerly, the people were at the mercy of Detroit. In the future, they will be at the mercy of the KWA. The water buyer has no leverage after the facility is built.

    The KWA organization is some type of scam economic development project that will probably never pan out. Does Genesee County really think that there are firms that will locate there for water? Genesee County would probably have to give the water away as part of other enticements to attract economic development.

    Flint will not be able to afford the KWA project, as Flint is already out of money. As I mentioned, affordable water rates are supposed to be in the range of 2.5% of MHI.

    The agencies that are equivalent to the MDEQ in other states will not approve a project like KWA proposes where it is unaffordable to the municipalities and the municipalities will bail out causing a backrupty. Yes, affordability is an aspect of permitting such a facility.

    You should also be aware that Flint has an old system with significant leakage where a lot of water is being wasted. Flint does not even need the capacity that they are buying. By the way, states also force municipalities to fix leaks and reduce waste. A municipality can't get Lake Michigan water if the water leakage rate from water pipes are too high.

    The point made is that the MDEQ is understaffed because of decades of underfunding. That is as good a reason as any for the multiple mistakes that they have made. But the big decisions are being made at the top, not by the little people.

    Just so you don't think you are the only state with major problems in government, there are similar problems with state government in other states. The problems at these states remain under the radar because the problems are not as sensational.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/15/la...

    http://www.wpr.org/judge-warned-walker-about-linco...

    http://www.kokomotribune.com/opinion/columns/micha...

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/w...

    http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2016/2/12...

    The common thread is that there have been a lot of wishful thinking by which tax cutters dreamed that they could keep on cutting taxes without having any real consequences.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Reading the Voice article, it appears the Flint politicians and Genesee County Commissioner were together is starting this mess.

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/fli...
    Genesee County Drain Commissioner is the CEO of the KWA

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Since Flint went back to Detroit's water source, does the lead issue go away?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    boo1,

    The lead issue will go away over time as the scale from water covers the corrosion.

    The traditional approach to corrosion control is to have a water with a slight tendency to scale. The most reliable method to make this happen is to increase the pH slightly so that the hardness begins to precipitate out as scale. Over time, the scale will coat the piping materials thereby preventing corrosion. The tendency to scale can be measured by the langelier index.

    If the water has a high tendency for scaling, over time, the scale will start to plug the piping. The operator of the water distribution system strikes a balance on the scaling tendencies.

    What has happened in Flint is that the chemical precipitation process that Flint is using is leaving the pH too low which is causing the corrosion. It is a result of poor operations by the inexperienced water treatment operators working for Flint. It is also a simple matter to remedy.

    The professor is making a big deal out of phosphate. There is no standard approach for phosphate treatment of water. In most cases when phosphate is applied, the users are not adding enough phosphate to make a difference anyway. Phosphate treatment is considered to be more of a seat of the pants technique than science. Phosphate is now considered to be a pollutant and most users are moving away from phosphate.

    The most reliable water treatment method to stop the corrosion is to increase the pH with an alkali.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    FWIW The Lowe foundation has a series of "Plain talk" papers they attribute to their founder, Mr Lowe.
    http://edwardlowe.org/plain-talk-from-ed-lowe/

    Seems like Dan Wyant may have skipped over this one, about "hiring the best you can" -
    http://edwardlowe.org/plain-talk-from-ed-lowe-hire...

    "....... Of course, hunches can also go astray. I hired a popular local fellow as my first sales manager. At work he displayed a side few people knew about — a dark moodiness when he didn’t get his way. Once, after three days under his black cloud, I invited him to unload his feelings. He proclaimed that he was undervalued, and that he wanted 25% ownership of my company. Otherwise, he was going to start his own competitive business. Although he was a pretty decent sales manager, I wished him luck and told him to clean out his desk.

    The fact that he was someone I knew well didn’t make it any easier. It taught me the first of many important lessons about hiring friends and others close to you. Evaluate them with the same brutal honesty as any other prospect, or you’re asking for trouble. A growing entrepreneur can’t afford one stick of dead wood.

    But when you find the right people, let them do their job. A boss who constantly badgers and second-guesses good employees is as unsettling as a waiter hovering over your every bite in a fine restaurant. Empower your employees; and though you don’t need to dish out slices of your company, pay them well for a good job. As an advertisement once noted, a good mind is a terrible thing to waste — or worse yet, to send running to a competitor...... "

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    bimr:

    In Flint's case I think they brought the pH down too low after lime softening. By doing that they unnecessarily brought down the hydroxide alkalinity. Why they did that is up to speculation. There could be a lot of reasons one of which is the operator is not qualified to run this type of plant. Another possible reason is that the plant is not designed properly to take into account the necessary pH swings that occur in this type of water plant. Another reason is that the instrumentation etc probably does not work well after being mothballed for 50 years. Remember they are trying to disinfect, flocculate, lime soften (i.e. raise the pH to drop out hardness), then drop the pH so that the water is drinkable and take into account having a positive calcium carbonate precipitation potential and post disinfect. It also looks like they are trying take out the magnesium hardness. I am not sure whether they really need to do that. There is quite an added expense to take out magnesium hardness.....But anyhow operating this type of plant requires more than one plant operator. It requires more people in the plant and in the City Water Department. It is a tragedy that the City and the State allowed this to occur. The U.S. is not supposed to be a third world country. Just goes to show you how dangerous having spreadsheet jockeys who tout themselves as "managers" can be. Somehow it has been turned around on people who have good technical backgrounds that can make informed decisions. If you are a lousy engineer or have a big mouth somehow you must make a good manager....LOL. It is the way the lazy people get to the top

    I cannot see how treating your own water is cheaper than buying water from others. Even if it is the case, the fact that there will be now two sellers this improves the chances of getting a competitive price for water. If there ever was a chance of getting poor quality water and cost cutting in order to maximize profit private companies will do it.

    BTW I got a chuckle over the $150,000 spent to get an "operations" company to make recommendations how to operate the water plant....what a joke

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    QualityTime,

    Basically what occurred was that the politicians making decisions and the Flint staff did not understand the complexity of starting up and operating a water treatment plant. Flint has been operating just a water pumping and distribution system for decades.

    The superintendent of the water treatment plant was not licensed. The guy with the operating license was the lab supervisor. Usually in a plant this size, you will find 3-4 of the people with licenses.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I've been looking for some time for real information as to the blood lead levels resulting from this fiasco. Overwhelmingly, news stories provide no actual information in this regard.

    The best information I've found has come from Kevin Drum of Mother Jones magazine (a solidly left-wing poltical magazine, for those of you unfamiliar with it). He has written extensively for years on the horrible effects of elevated blood lead levels in the mid 20th Century.

    His conclusion on this: "Flint is not a public health holocaust."

    Some key graphs from his recent reports that put things in perspective:



    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/01/raw-...



    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/01/lead...



    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/here...



    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/flin...

    Those of us middle aged and older, who grew up in the age of leaded gasoline, almost certainly had higher blood lead levels that the worst affected of the Flint children.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I would prefer to have experts prepare graphs of the situation in Flint

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The data is expert-derived: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/data/national.htm

    My experience with 'experts' is that they are no better at creating graphs than a layman, unfortunately. Luckily the graphs are simply comparing simple numbers as percentages or trends over time. There's no truncated axes or other devious chart tactics to visually mislead the viewer. I didn't check the numbers, though, either. The point seems simple, though.

    What is it you find lacking in the charts other than URL?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    While there may be some long term effects that are yet to be discovered, I tend to agree that the lead issue has been exaggerated. Nonetheless, this is another Hurricane Katrina moment when the nation’s problem with the poor are brought out into the open.

    Leaded gasoline has been a problem for years and there were many who protested when the government called for the lead to be removed. It is interesting that the moron who invented leaded gasoline was also the inventor of the ozone destroying chlorofluorocarbons. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&a...

    There may be a fix for the lead problem, but there are bigger societal issues than the water.

    The level of incompetence and corruption in Michigan government is appalling.

    In addition, the war on the poor and working class has been going on for years. The quiet life of misery and desperation that America’s version of capitalism bestows upon so many of the poor and working class is unacceptable .

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I am not an expert in the RATE of lead absorption of lead into the bloodstream but logic says there must be a link. Therefore simply showing these graphs do not show the entire picture. To keep it simple, it is about what the lead and copper levels are in the tap water. By consistently keeping the lead and copper levels in the water down one does not have to worry about eventually getting elevated lead levels in a bloodstream. The public outcry MADE the City switch back to Detroit water

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Quality if only we could remove the politics

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "Quality if only we could remove the politics"

    Ironic.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "Nearly a year before Michigan governor Rick Snyder publicly admitted his knowledge of the city of Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis, advisers in his office had advocated moving Flint back to its prior drinking water source “before this thing gets too far out of control”, newly released emails reveal.

    And nearly seven months before Snyder’s announcement in October 2015, his former chief of staff had internally proposed purchasing bottled water for Flint’s residents – even as the governor’s administration publicly rebuffed any characterization that Flint’s water wasn’t safe to drink."

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/26/fli...

    Would seem that it is rather odd to blame the EPA for not acting promptly when you knew about the problem for so long.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Mistakes made by one party do not absolve other parties of their own errors.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Agree with you, maybe now Rick Snyder will resign.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Bimr--I would disagree with you that the government called for lead to be removed from gasoline. It was the auto makers that needed lead free fuel for catalytic converters to function. Charles Kettering was the father of leaded gasoline. Hardly a moron--he had many inventions that enhanced the practicality of the automobile.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I don't think catalytic converters were specificly required. The federal smog standards were required.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    What I meant was that the catalytic converters were required the car companies' solution to meet the smog requirements. They wouldn't have used them otherwise, given the relatively high cost of installations. They simply had no other way to meet the smog requirements, so, in essence, catalytic converters were required.

    TTFN
    I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
    homework forum: //www.engineering.com/AskForum/aff/32.aspx
    FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

    RE: Flint Municipal water


    Figure 1—An artist’s depiction of a lead-poisoned worker, New York Journal, October 31, 1924, page 2.


    I was referring to Thomas Midgley, who "discovered" that the addition of Tetraethyllead to gasoline prevented "knocking" in internal combustion engines, not Charles Kettering.

    "In 1924, dissatisfied with the speed of DuPont's TEL production using their "bromide process", General Motors and Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (now known as ExxonMobil) created the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation to produce and market TEL. Ethyl Corporation built a new chemical plant using a high-temperature ethyl chloride process at the Bayway Refinery in New Jersey.[7] Within the first two months of its operation however, the new plant was plagued by more cases of lead poisoning, hallucinations, insanity, and then five deaths in quick succession.

    On October 30, 1924, Midgley participated in a press conference to demonstrate the apparent safety of TEL. In this demonstration, he poured TEL over his hands, then placed a bottle of the chemical under his nose and inhaled its vapor for sixty seconds, declaring that he could do this every day without succumbing to any problems whatsoever.[5][8] However, the State of New Jersey ordered the Bayway plant to be closed a few days later, and Jersey Standard was forbidden to manufacture TEL there again without state permission. Midgley would later have to take leave of absence from work after being diagnosed with lead poisoning.[9] Midgley was relieved of his position as vice president of GMCC in April 1925, reportedly due to his inexperience in organizational matters, but he remained an employee of General Motors."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Midgley,_Jr.

    However, Charles Kettering may be more despicable for knowingly promoting something that he knew to be lethal. He did this to obtain a patent that allowed his company a monopoly position in the market and to make his company very profitable. At best, that would be unethical.

    "While use of ethanol could not be patented, TEL’s use as an additive could. Kettering and Midgley secured its patent and proceeded to promote the use of TEL as an additive in lieu of other options. Kettering became the first president of the newly founded Ethyl Corporation that started to produce TEL in 1923. One year later he hired Robert A. Kehoe as the medical expert to proclaim that leaded gasoline was safe for humans. That its use was an ecological disaster leading to a global lead contamination was not acknowledged until many decades later."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_F._Kettering

    "Although other anti-knock additives were known, researchers at General Motors’ (GM’s) Dayton, Ohio, facilities believed that they could make more money with leaded gasoline. In 1923, Thomas Midgley calculated that it would be possible to capture 20% of the gasoline market and make 3 cents per gallon, for about $36 million per year. Within a decade the profits would be ten times that amount, and by the 1950s the profits would be in the billions."

    "A flurry of correspondence between GM and the public health community preceded the public controversy by two years. Warnings about the danger of leaded gasoline came directly to Midgley and Kettering from Robert Wilson of MIT, Reid Hunt of Harvard, Yandell Henderson of Yale, and Charles Kraus of the University of Pottsdam in Germany. Kraus had worked on tetraethyl lead for many years and called it “a creeping and malicious poison” that had killed a member of his dissertation committee."


    http://www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/ethylwar/IJOEH.pd...
    Figure 1—An artist’s depiction of a lead-poisoned worker, New York Journal, October 31, 1924, page 2.



    1970 – US Environmental Protection Agency created. Car manufacturers ordered to begin building engines to run on unleaded gasoline by 1975. Ethyl Corp. unsuccessfully opposes phase-out of leaded gasoline in courts.

    1970 – US auto makers develop catalytic converter as a stop-gap technology while they develop cleaner engines. TEL poisoned the catalytic converters so the pressure was on to get lead -free gasoline (petrol) on the market to permit catalytic converters. In response to this the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) orders introduction of unleaded gasoline and issues an order for lead-gasoline-free cars by 1975, thus beginning the world’s first national phase-out of leaded petrol. A health model predicted that the effect of the introduction of unleaded gasoline on lead concentrations in the blood of US residents would be minor. Ref and graph (adapted from USCDC) (Murdoch 2005)

    http://www.lead.org.au/Chronology-Making_Leaded_Pe...

    http://web.mit.edu/ckolstad/www/Newell.pdf

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Midgley worked for Kettering. There is an SAE paper on Kettering's role in the widespread adoption of TEL as an additive to increase motor fuel octane. Despite TEL being a deadly poison, there was a long and safe history of leaded gasoline use in the U.S. With the adoption of the catalytic converter, leaded fuel was on a big down turn as older vehicles were replaced. Remember, cars did not last as long as they do today. It wasn't until later (around 1985) that studies were conducted that showed health issues with airborne lead. By then leaded fuel was nearly extinct except for aviation and racing applications.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I started the response with the cartoon from the New York Journal, October 31, 1924.

    Have you read any of the posted links? The only thing correct in your post is that Midgley worked for Kettering.

    There was a NEVER a long and safe history of leaded gasoline use in the U.S. In fact, the promoters of lead in gasoline only promoted lead because of the fact that it was patentable (and highly profitable). There were alternatives that were not used because there was no profit.

    The dangers of lead were well known in the 1920's and not "discovered" in 1985. In fact, the Romans were aware that lead could cause serious health problems, even madness and death.

    https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/lead-poisoning-histor...

    If you take the time to read the Kovarik paper:

    http://www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/ethylwar/IJOEH.pd...

    "We are often led to expect that technologic choices are made by a scientific method that reveals the most important properties of a technology. As historian T. P. Hughes said, good scientists systematically work through all available options when developing a new technology.10 But, in fact, there are very few knowledgeable representatives of the public interest looking over the shoulders of industry when such decisions are made, and with 20–20 historical hindsight, it is clear that the decisions are often not being made with the public or even the best possible technology in mind. Lead poisoning was among the most obvious and historically well known occupational diseases, and even though, as Alice Hamilton noted, alternatives were perfectly obvious, the industry opted instead for profitable poison."

    Kettering's decision to promote the use of lead in gasoline was driven by greed.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    No, I did not read all of the links. I was aware of some of the content from other sources, though. I will read the Kovark paper. It looks interesting. As a metallurgical engineer, I am aware of the dangers of lead from various sources. I stand by my original point--the advent of the catalytic converter drove the need to remove lead from automotive fuel rather than a concern for public health. Follow up--I read the Kovark paper. I didn't learn anything that I didn't already know on the subject of lead in automotive fuels and lead, in general, as a hazardous material. The subject of alternatives to TEL as an anti-knock additive is prominent in the paper. We witnessed this in action when high octane leaded fuel went away. The alternatives did arrive after refinery investment in catalytic crackers and reformers. And blending of aromatics such as toluene into the fuel. All of these come with their own costs and risks. And ethanol as an octane enhancer--yeah, it works but that could be a whole separate topic.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding "I stand by my original point--the advent of the catalytic converter drove the need to remove lead from automotive fuel rather than a concern for public health."

    That is not an entirely correct memory. While it is true that catalytic converters become fouled with leaded gasoline, there were many other things in play at that time. Concern for public health was a factor and that concern brought the Clear Air Act in 1970. Lead was also under scrutiny as a hazardous material.

    A large proportion of the eventual phasedown of lead in gasoline is in fact attributable to the decreasing share of leaded gasoline that resulted from the transition to a new car fleet.

    There were other methods to meet the emission standards. Some of the German engines with fuel injection could meet the early vehicle emissions standards without the use of catalytic converters. I personally owned a 1978 BMW with no catalytic converter. The Big Three automakers thought catalytic converters were less expensive than fuel injection and other methods.

    1970: Congress passes the first major Clean Air Act, requiring a 90 percent reduction in emissions from new automobiles by 1975.

    1971: President Richard Nixon signed the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act, which restricted the lead content in paint used in housing built with federal dollars and provided funds for states to reduce the amount of lead in paint. Subsequent legislation created the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which effectively banned leaded paint in 1976.

    1973: EPA releases a study confirming that lead from automobile exhaust poses a direct threat to public health. Later that year, EPA issues final regulations to gradually reducing lead in gasoline.

    1975: Unleaded gasoline is also introduced because lead in gasoline may cause disintegration of catalytic converters. This results in dramatic reductions in ambient lead levels and alleviates many serious environmental and human health concerns associated with lead pollution.

    1975: The first widespread introduction of catalytic converters was in the United States automobile market. To comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's stricter regulation of exhaust emissions, gasoline-powered vehicles starting with the 1975 model year most vehicles are equipped with catalytic converters.

    1984: The U.S. Senate considered banning the use of lead in gasoline, with Vernon Houk, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for Environmental Heath, reporting that “if no lead had been allowed in gasoline since 1977, there would have been approximately 80 percent fewer children identified with lead toxicity.”

    1985: The EPA discussed a total ban on leaded gasoline by 1988.

    1990: In amendments to the Clean Air Act, lead was banned from gasoline. The measures would take effect in 1995, giving gasoline companies five more years to completely phase out lead.

    If you considered all of the things that were going on at that time, it is a simplistic notion to say that the advent of the catalytic converter drove the need to remove lead from automotive fuel rather than a concern for public health

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Leaded gasoline is still available--aviation gas (100LL) and race gas. My buddy and fellow retired engineer bought some of the former within the last couple of years and I purchased leaded race gas well past the stated 1995 ban. I was an engineering student in the early '70's and I do not recall a concern about exhaust emissions from leaded fuel being a widespread health concern. Perhaps it was to the health and safety professionals, but these concerns did not seem to make there way into the mass media. I recall a discussion in Chem 101 about bromide scavenging agents in leaded fuel/how these worked and there were no question or concerns raised by any of those in the class about potential health issues of lead in motor fuel. Leaded fuel was an accepted product. I have a problem with statements like those attributed to Vernon Houk, as there is no way of knowing if the lead related health issues among children were due to lead from exhaust emissions, ingestion of lead paint or other sources (like lead plumbing). Re the phase out of lead in motor fuel--those of us with vintage automobiles and motorcycles struggled with this due to valve seat recession caused by the use of unleaded fuel. If you revisit some of the comments made in the history of leaded fuels that have been presented in the links, there is mention of "alternatives" to leaded fuel. None of these alternatives would have dealt with valve seat recession and we would have had a whole new concern about engine longevity.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I believe that it is well established that leaded fuel and blood-lead levels is correlated:



    Lead was originally put into fuel to stop the knocking, not to solve a valve problem. If lead had not been used in fuel, the engines would have been designed such that the valve seat recession would never have occurred. Valve seat recession was an unintended consequence of Midgley, not from the environmentalists.

    If lead had not been put into fuel, then engine technology and fuel may have taken a different path.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    USA Today (2/29, Spangler) reports that the Environmental Protection Agency sent letters Monday to the nation’s governors and water regulators, vowing more stringent oversight of federal rules protecting citizens from lead in drinking water. The letters ask states to confirm their water systems meet protocols and procedures set in the “complex” Lead and Copper Rule. They also say state authorities should more carefully review results of lead samples taken at homes and attempt to locate all lead service lines. The article says that given how often the EPA has been criticized for overreach, “it was unclear how governors and state regulators would react.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I moved from the US to Bavaria in 1986, and took my relatively new car with me. In order to be able to have the car shipped and accepted in Germany, I had to have the catalytic converter removed. I know in 1986 that serious concerns existed with US citizens having their catalytic converters removed and running lead gas. That was nothing compared to the Germans, who very vocally and quite often expressed their health concerns over Americans removing their converters and burning leaded, which would not happen in the US. Yes, there were officially (by direction of Federal government) health concerns in at least two nations concerning lead combustion. The gasoline sometimes took second chair to burning all high sulfur coal in the DoD boilers, and use of JP-6.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The blame game has started. What is confusing to me is that there is no focus on the City's incompetence. There is no focus on the State. Snyder is lying. The people at the Michigan DEQ wanted to keep their job and are in fear. Why is EPA being blamed for Flint? The EPA sets the limits and it is up to each State to follow it

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan is the only state in the country providing fewer economic resources to its cities in 2012 than it did in 2002."

    "But this approach fails to recognize, and in fact is in direct conflict with one of the fundamental tenants of Michigan’s municipal finance model, which is that the value of a community directly impacts the revenue that a community can generate to sustain services. It’s a system designed for failure."

    http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/20...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    There is also a story that i saw that many other city water systems have the same issue. Why is that not on the headlines?

    This looks to me like a liberal media on a rebublican which hunt.

    The fact is there are several government agencies that should be in question.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    If the shoe fits...

    John R. Baker, P.E.
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Trickle-Down has never been tried the U.S.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    And where were you in the 1980's. Ever heard of 'Reaganomics'? Even it's creator, Reagan's budget director David Stockman, eventually admitted that 'Supply-side' economics (AKA 'Reagonmics') was nothing more than a 'trickle-down' theory, which in the end, was unlikely to deliver the intended results.

    John R. Baker, P.E.
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    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    And where were you in the '70's during Professor Alexander's lectures in Econ 101 and 102?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Professor Alexander has been proven wrong by history. Reagan left office with triple the deficit that he started with and the beginnings of the stagnated wages that everyone is PO'd about. This was more recently proved wrong with Bobby Jindal, who took office with a $1B+ surplus and left with a $1.6B deficit, in the name of growth through cutting taxes.

    TTFN
    I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
    FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    When Reagan took over from Carter, the second good thing he did, other than cutting rates on income taxes, was to keep Paul Volker at the Federal Reserve. Volker tightened Fed monetary policies and it hurt a lot. But it got the U.S. economy out from under the horrendous inflation we had back then and put the economy back on track for growth. Economics is called the dismal science--it is not really a science. You can't do controlled experiments to see how one economic policy might fare compared to an alternative. And the bad results of the "science" can be dismal. The economy did well after Reagan through the Bush '41 and then the Clinton years.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    And let's not forget Sam Brownback and the disaster that is now Kansas.

    John R. Baker, P.E.
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    JohnRBaker--Yes,I am familiar with David Stockman. He soured on Reaganonomics (which was not "trickle-down") primarily because the deficits increased. The deficits increase was primarily due to increased military spending.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    2
    Yah- I get it, Democrats are ignorant and gullible, Republicans are heartless monsters bla bla bla

    How about we move the political rants to the lawyers site and use the engineering forum for engineering.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    There you go again.

    "The deficits increase was primarily due to increased military spending." The deficit was not caused by military spending. The deficit began with the long and severe recession both in the U.S. and abroad that was initiated by the Fed's monetary policies.

    Volker was just appointed by Carter in 1979. Why don't you give Carter credit if you liked the Volker policies?

    There was also no reason to continue military spending after the fall of the Soviet Union (which was initiated by the Saudi drop in oil prices).

    "Volcker recognized that ending inflation required commitment. It could not be painless or quick. Price inflation was around 11% when he began his term. At the end of his term eight years later, it was 4.2%, the U.S. had reclaimed world leadership and the Soviet Union was in its death throes - its finances ravaged by the price collapse of the commodities that were its only major exports. The trade weighted dollar index had risen from 85 to 135." http://www.futurecasts.com/Meltzer,%20History%20of... of 1980-1982 http://www.oilandgaspeople.com/news/7736/how-saudi...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    So what if we got rid of government wast, and cronyism, and cut taxes, as well as the quasi-government doing it's job without the political input. Maybe wishful thinking, but both parties seem to be deeply invested in this corruption we have. So please keep the politics out of it, and make the point that people should be held accountable.

    Yes oversight is important, but can't be 100% to blame for a failure of a quasi-government doing the business that could be done by a non-profit or for profit corporation. None of these business types are perfect, and this is just one example of that. So who was the head, and why has this person not been prosecuted?

    The time for finger pointing is over, fix the problem, prosecute the guilty person in change, and move on.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Where is the lead?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Yes, bimr, Volker was indeed a Carter appointee. History has shown that Volker's policies were instrumental in getting rid of the high inflation that no one knew how to deal with. It was tough medicine.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Quote (swall)


    Yes,I am familiar with David Stockman. He soured on Reaganonomics (which was not "trickle-down") primarily because the deficits increased.

    That does not seem to jive with Stockman's own words, as quoted in the item below (I'll leave the exercise of finding those quotes to the reader but doing a 'Find' for "trickle" will help immensely):

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1981/1...

    John R. Baker, P.E.
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
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    Siemens PLM:
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    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    just to save everyone some work:

    "Yet he was conceding what the liberal Keynesian critics had argued from the outset—the supply-side theory was not a new economic theory at all but only new language and argument to conceal a hoary old Republican doctrine: give the tax cuts to the top brackets, the wealthiest individuals and largest enterprises, and let the good effects "trickle down" through the economy to reach everyone else. Yes, Stockman conceded, when one stripped away the new rhetoric emphasizing across-the-board cuts, the supply-side theory was really new clothes for the unpopular doctrine of the old Republican orthodoxy. "It's kind of hard to sell 'trickle down,'" he explained, "so the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really 'trickle down.' Supply-side is 'trickle-down' theory."

    TTFN
    I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
    FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Quote (swall)


    And where were you in the '70's during Professor Alexander's lectures in Econ 101 and 102?

    Actually it was the 60's when I took Econ 101 and 102 at 'da Tech', and yes, one of the Alexander brothers (it was P. V. I think) taught those classes. We loved it when he would work out something with a slide-rule and get results to 4 decimal places.

    John R. Baker, P.E.
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Getting back to fact finding:

    The state of Michigan is "fundamentally accountable" for Flint's lead-contaminated water crisis because of decisions made by its environmental regulators and state-appointed emergency managers who controlled the city, an investigatory task force concluded Wednesday (3/23/16) in a withering report.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-michigan-water-i...








    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Oh, look at this little gem:

    "There were failures on all levels of government, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a report from the task force said"

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Leaving out portions of the text is called quoting out of context isn't it? The practice of quoting out of context (sometimes referred to as "contextomy" and quote mining), is an informal fallacy and a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.

    Here is the entire paragraph:

    "There were failures on all levels of government, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a report from the task force said. However, the report highlighted failures of state agencies, especially the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and said the state was "fundamentally accountable" for what happened."


    Finding #1 from the actual report says it all:

    MDEQ bears primary responsibility for the water contamination in Flint.

    Merriam Webster's definition of primary:

    1: most important

    2: most basic or essential

    3: happening or coming first

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I would have thought the city water department would be have the primary responsibility.
    Looks like it cost three jobs at MDEQ and one at the EPA so far.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I guess I'm the only one who's not allowed to quote out of context.

    You're celebrating a report that states the the argument I've made continually from the start of this thread is accurate, and that your perception is wrong.. Thank you.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding "I would have thought the city water department would be have the primary responsibility.
    Looks like it cost three jobs at MDEQ and one at the EPA so far."

    The City of Flint was also excoriated. See Page 44 of the report.

    However, the MDEQ is also responsible for oversight of Flint. Example: Flint is required to have an water treatment plant operator certified by MDEQ and Flint did not.

    "The DEQ has primary enforcement authority in Michigan for the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act under the legislative authority of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act. As such, the division has regulatory oversight for all public water supplies, including approximately 1,500 community water supplies and 10,000 noncommunity water supplies. The program regulates the water well drilling industry. Michigan has nearly (1.12 million) households served by private wells, with approximately 15,000 domestic wells drilled each year. The DEQ also investigates drinking water well contamination, and oversees remedial activities at sites of groundwater contamination affecting drinking water wells."

    http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3675...

    Somebody from the Flint may eventually be criminally charged as they signed off on certifications that the water was safe.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I doubt anyone will be charged. Lead and copper limits are exceeded all over the country. There is no real push to enforce it

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Think all of you are missing the history of "trickle down" started with Will Rogers and "trickle up". People were already tired of being "trickled on" in the 20's and 30's. Didn't work then either, as the comedian noted. Took an ass-hat to revive it.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    bimr 27 Jan 16 19:59 post stated;

    "Don't forget the operator of the water treatment plant. It is required by law to have a person in responsible charge of a water treatment plant. The operator is not just responsible for the spirit of the law. The operator is the hands on person in charge. The operator accepts responsibility by signing and certifying documents."

    ????

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    In response to boo1, and note that this is a highly regulated industry:

    "To demonstrate proper operation, treatment plant operators must fill out Monthly Operation Reports (MOR) reporting these operational parameters."

    https://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-wd-wate...

    Here is the report from the Flint operator:

    https://www.cityofflint.com/wp-content/uploads/Jun...

    If you review the report, you will observe the pH is too low, which is causing the corrosion. The report was submitted to the MDEQ as required, but it does not appear that anyone at the MDEQ looked at the report.

    "HOW TO BE CERTIFIED (Drinking Water Operator):

    2. Application Review: We will review your application to make sure you have the required operating experience and education requirements for the certification(s) you are applying for."

    http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3308_3333...

    But then, the MDEQ issued a license to the Flint water treatment plant operator despite a lack of experience.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-glasgow-21b881...



    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Serious question warning.

    You keep saying 'despite a lack of experience'

    What position, and what length of time, in your opinion, would constitute the minimum level of experience?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Looks like Flint also started adding 2.5 milligrams phosphate per liter to the water.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Also, regarding pH:

    From the report cited above, (tap) pH for that month had a high of 7.76 and a low of 7.40, with an average value of 7.61.

    So, what *should* those pH values have shown?

    EPA guidelines reccomend a pH between 6.5 and 8.5. You say that the tested values are not high enough, but they appear to me (a non-drinking-water-plant-operator) to be already high-of-center on the scale.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    It is not my "opinion", it is the law in Michigan. Regarding experience:

    "at least 3 years of operating experience of which 1 year is in an F-2 system or higher.

    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-ess-otu-...

    Since the operator has not worked in another facility and since Flint was not operating their water treatment plant, one would have to wonder how this person (operator) obtained the hands on operating experience. His linkedin resume says he works in the lab. There is also a requirement that there should be multiple operators with licenses. Don't know if anyone else is licensed.


    3 years experience of "hands on" experience is typical. Most states do not allow you to get a license without actually working in a water treatment plant.

    Here is a typical requirement from IL:

    The applicant has at least three years of study, training and responsible experience in water supply operation or management of a Class A facility that is acceptable to the Agency.

    http://www.ipcb.state.il.us/documents/dsweb/Get/Do...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I would like an answer about the pH as well. If this were my swimming pool, I would consider those readings perfect. But I don't know about the pH which should come from the water plant.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The Langelier Index is an approximate indicator of the degree of saturation of calcium carbonate in water. It is calculated using the pH, alkalinity, calcium concentration, total dissolved solids, and water temperature of a water sample collected at the tap.

    Basically, the Langelier Index will tell you whether the water is corrosive or scaling. You want a water that is scale forming and non corrosive

    Here is an online calculator:

    http://www.lenntech.com/calculators/langelier/inde...

    For June 5, 2015 from the operators data, page 5 for tap water:

    https://www.cityofflint.com/wp-content/uploads/Jun...

    Results: Slightly scale forming and corrosive.

    On June 5, the pH should have been at least 8.3 units instead of 7.55



    Plug some of the numbers from the operator's data into the calculator and prove it yourself. In a few minutes, you can see that the operator did not know what he was doing. The operator is mistakenly lowering the pH to a corrosive pH after the lime softening process where a higher pH is used to precipitate the hardness.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding "Looks like Flint also started adding 2.5 milligrams phosphate per liter to the water."

    With that small amount of phosphate, there is little value. Control of the pH is much more important if you are trying to control corrosion.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "I would like an answer about the pH as well. If this were my swimming pool, I would consider those readings perfect. But I don't know about the pH which should come from the water plant."

    Don't think you have piping that contains iron in your swimming pool do you? The water in a swimming pool is corrosive, but the swimming pool components are fabricated from materials that are corrosion resistant like plastics and stainless steel.

    A pH of 7.4 provides good chlorine disinfection in a swimming pool where the organic loading is much higher than drinking water. Organics in drinking water would mean that you have water contamination.

    Generally, the pH is controlled in a swimming pool for improved disinfection, and not to provide corrosion control.

    The pH in a swimming pool and the pH in a potable water applications are like apples and oranges, with different requirements

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    OK, thanks. Another question. Why would you add phosphate to water? Again, based on swimming pool experience, you want as little phosphate as possible, because it facilitates algal growth.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Orthophosphate based additives are classified as corrosion inhibitors and are supposed to react with dissolved metals (e.g. Ca, Mg, Zn, Al etc.) in the water and may form a very thin metal phosphate coating or may simply react with metals on a pipe surface acting as a barrier between the pipe and the water. Polyphosphate type chemicals are supposed to react with soluble metals by sequestering the metals to maintain their solubility in water. The sequestering process is supposed to minimize the risk of discoloration, staining, scaling, chlorine demand and related taste/odor and other water quality complaints. Certain types of polyphosphates are supposed to inhibit corrosion since they may bind with metallic pipe surfaces or with the corrosion deposits inside water pipes.

    There is little research available that will support the claims of the sales people that are selling these chemicals. It is more a seat of the pants approach or an art if you will.

    Feeding a few milligrams per liter is such a small amount of material that it is not plausible that phosphate will provide any corrosion control. One ppm is 1 part in 1 million or the value is equivalent to the absolute fractional amount multiplied by one million. A better way to think of ppm is to visualize putting four drops of
    material in a 55-gallon barrel of water.

    The only approach that ensures corrosion control is to raise the water pH.

    I would say that the water industry is moving away from the use of phosphates. One reason is that it is a big problem to remove phosphates from wastewater. Phosphates are the cause of toxic algae in streams and rivers.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Could this be the 'smoking gun'?

    Flint official: State overruled plan for corrosion control

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/2df979c442594d8c9bc...

    Excerpt from the above item:

    Shortly before this poverty-stricken city began drawing its drinking water from the Flint River in April 2014 in a cost-cutting move, officials huddled at the municipal water treatment plant, running through a checklist of final preparations.

    Mike Glasgow, the plant's laboratory supervisor at the time, says he asked district engineer Mike Prysby of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality how often staffers would need to check the water for proper levels of phosphate, a chemical they intended to add to prevent lead corrosion from the pipes. Prysby's response, according to Glasgow: "You don't need to monitor phosphate because you're not required to add it."

    Recalling the meeting Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press, Glasgow said he was taken aback by the state regulator's instruction; treating drinking water with anti-corrosive additives was routine practice. Glasgow said his gaze shifted to a consulting firm engineer in attendance, who also looked surprised.

    "Then," Glasgow said, "we went on to the next question."

    John R. Baker, P.E.
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I thought it was the PH that was more important?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    boo1, I am pleased to see that you are paying attention.

    Mike Glasgow, the plant's laboratory supervisor is the MDEQ LICENSED water treatment plant OPERATOR and is responsible. He put his name on all of the documents.

    "I was only following orders" is a cop out. "I did have some concerns and misgivings at first," Glasgow told the committee. "But unfortunately, now that I look back, I relied on engineers and the state regulators to kind of direct the decision. I looked at them as having more knowledge than myself."

    The excerpt just highlights the lack of experience of the Flint operator. If Mr. Glasgow was qualified to operate the Flint water treatment plant, he would have never asked the question in the first place.

    Mike Prysby is correct, there is no requirement to add phosphate or monitor it. However, there is a requirement to make the water non-corrosive. That question that should have been directed to Mr. Glasgow by Mike Prysby; How do you plan to make the water non-corrosive?

    With all due respects to the VT Doctor, one can see from the water treatment reference text (AWWA Water Quality and Treatment) that you would have to add 10 times the amount of phosphate to control the corrosion. Just 2.5 milligrams phosphate is inadequate and will not reduce the corrosion.



    All Mr. Glasgow had to do was to lower the pH from 10 units to 8.5 units and the problem was solved. pH control is the most common and cost-effective method for corrosion control. Instead, Mr. Glasgow lowered the pH to 7.5 and created the problem.



    As was stated previously, the MDEQ has oversight over this issue and gave Mr. Glasgow a license to operate. That was the smoking gun if you want to put it in those terms.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Are you SURE that Mr. Glasgow WAS the Flint water treatment plant operator at the time of this switch-over?

    The item I posted identifies him as being the supervisor of the treatment plant's laboratory at the time of the switch-over and as such, I would think that his question was appropriate. And the most recent news item identifies him as the city's Utilities Administrator, a position he has held for something like 11 months. Note that this is consistent with his Linkedin profile, links to which YOU'VE posted several times in this thread, and which I've reposted below. It clearly states that he was a "Laboratory Supervisor" during the timeframe when these events were taking place. No where does it ever mention him being the plant's operator.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-glasgow-21b881...

    John R. Baker, P.E.
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Yes, I am SURE. The Operator is the person in responsible charge that signs the MDEQ forms:



    Don't believe that Flint has any other F-1 water operators:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-glasgow-21b881...
    http://www.deq.state.mi.us/otcis/otcis.aspx
    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-ess-otu-...

    All of the documentation has been previously posted above.

    Several questions come to mind:

    Why was someone with no experience employed? Perhaps Flint was not willing to pay the market rate for an operator.

    Why is this fellow still employed there? People get fired for much less than this.

    Why did Flint not have any other operators?

    Why did the MDEQ give this person a water treatment plant operator license when he lacked the require 3 years of experience?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    His question was if Glasgow was the OIC at the time of the switchover, in April of 2014. It appears that is/was not the case, if the change in job title on his oft-linked linkedin page reflects his new job as plant operator in Flint.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    ok thanks two more questions
    If Flint only been "treating", Detroit's water treated Lake Huron's water. How did Flint have the expertise to treat more corrosive raw Flint River water?

    What pipe materials typically would you expect Flint water distribution pipes be?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    From a Detroit Free Press article:

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/fli...

    "Glasgow, a Flint employee for over a decade, previously worked as a laboratory supervisor from 2005 to May 2015.

    He passed the state’s F-1 certification program for water treatment and received his license May 6, 2010, according to state records. The license requires five years of relevant experience in a treatment plant, with one of those years operating a plant."

    It appears this guy was qualified, in the sense that he carried the required license. The Detroit Free Press article also implies (but does not explicitly state) that he was OIC when the changeover happened in '14.

    Apparently his linkedin profile is not accurate.

    Here are some other excerpts:

    “We originally had this chemical in the design, but the DEQ did not mandate it from the start,” Glasgow wrote in the email. “(They) informed us to wait and see the results of our lead and copper sampling to determine if it was necessary.”- Glasgow

    "Glasgow said he wanted to run the Flint plant for six months prior to switching to river water and asked to double his staff. The plant had 40 employees in 2005 when it was used as a backup source, but 26 when it went into full-time use in 2014, he said."

    This reads to me like a guy with not a lot of options. The water plant operator isn't going to be able to upgrade services or equipment with money he doesn't have.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The Flint water treatment plant has not operated in over 50 years.

    Mr. Glasgow has worked at Flint his entire career.

    If both of these are true, then Mr. Glasgow does not have the required five years of experience. The point being made is that Mr. Glasgow should not have been licensed by the MDEQ because of the lack of experience.

    One does not take the keys to the automobile or airplane with zero hands on experience. In effect, Mr. Glasgow said he learned how to operate a water treatment plant from reading a book. There is a reason that hands on operating experience is required to obtain a license.

    Sometimes it is necessary to stand up for one's principles. Either Mr. Glasgow did not know what he doing, or Mr. Glasgow intentionally put out bad water.

    The person that signs the MDEQ reports is the "Operator".

    If I was Mr. Glasgow, I would be talking to an attorney as it appears that he fraudulently obtained the license. When one applies for the license, you sign this statement.

    "I CERTIFY, TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, THE DRINKING WATER COMPLETE TREATMENT SYSTEM OPERATION JOB DUTY INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE APPLICANT ON THIS PAGE IS TRUE. I AM AWARE THERE MAY BE SIGNIFICANT PENALTIES FOR SUBMITTING FALSE OR MISLEADING INFORMATION INCLUDING FORFEITURE OF MY OWN CERTIFICATIONS."

    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-ess-otu-...

    Would be interesting the ask for a FOI on this application for a water treatment operator license to see what is stated.


    List of Flint licensed people are listed in the attachment.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Boo1,

    "If Flint only been "treating", Detroit's water treated Lake Huron's water. How did Flint have the expertise to treat more corrosive raw Flint River water?"

    Flint was repumping water from Detroit, not treating the water. Treating the water takes more expertise than just pumping the water. Flint should have hired a qualified operator.

    "What pipe materials typically would you expect Flint water distribution pipes be?"

    The water main pipes are probably a mix of cast iron, ductile iron, and PVC depending on when the pipes were installed..

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Since we are discussing licensing, there is a fellow working for a Koch Brothers foundation who goes around the United States giving speeches telling anyone who will listen that occupational licensing is a job killer and people should not have occupational licenses. This includes Engineers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Kleiner

    "Summers believes that all licensing laws should be abolished, letting the market create its own certification system, such as the product-review information offered by Consumer Reports, Amazon.com or CNET."

    Some states are buying into it:

    http://www.in.gov/pla/files/JCC_-_2015_Annual_Repo...

    The Flint fiasco is proof that Morris Kleiner is an idiot.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding: "His question was if Glasgow was the OIC at the time of the switchover, in April of 2014. It appears that is/was not the case, if the change in job title on his oft-linked linkedin page reflects his new job as plant operator in Flint."

    The MDEQ requires someone at the water treatment plant to have a license and Mr. Glasgow is the only one with a license.

    Whatever is posted on Linkedin may or may not be appropriate to the responsibility of the position that one holds. With just 43 connections, Mr. Glasgow does not appear to be a savvy linkedin type and he may not even know that he is on linkedin. If I was his attorney, I would advise him to delete the linkedin page.

    Sounds like the well known concept (The Peter principle) in management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter in which the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence."

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I don't think I usually agree with bimr, but it's clear where Kleiner is coming from, which is consistent with Koch brothers and other Repubs philosophy of continually driving down wages and taxes, always to the benefit of the rich, because they implicitly believe in supply side (trickle down), even though they've demonstrated over the past 30+ yrs since Reaganomics that it just doesn't work.

    Kleiner obviously has no clue how generally useless market-driven certifications are. Take ISO9000, for example; you get certified that you follow your own documented procedures, so the obvious lowest denominator is to minimize the documentation to the bare minimum, which makes it, overall, pretty superficial and close to useless. If ISO certification were that good, military procurements could do away with military standards.

    TTFN
    I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    OMG, IRstuff likes my comment. I am going to take the rest of the day off.

    Indiana was pushed back on licensing of Engineers after a state legislature hearing brought up the topic of the Sugarland Concert where the stage blew down killing 7. Indiana had waived engineering requirements for temporary structures and ended up paying $50 million in liability damages.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Michigan's governor, Rick Synder, is now taking credit for all the jobs that are being created as a result of the Flint water crisis.

    In addition to the people working at the high-priced PR firm that he's spending taxpayer's money on so as to put a rosy spin on what's happening (I assume this 'news item' is one of their 'products' which was paid for by the citizens), it appears that 81 temporary workers have been hired to distribute bottled water to city residents. The way the Governor has been hyping this 'program', he makes it sound like this is more than just a temp job but an opportunity to learn workplace skills that could lead to a long term career. But doing what, or is this some sort of admission that perhaps delivering bottled water to the residents of Flint might indeed be a "long term career"...

    https://www.politicscentral.org/snyder-boasts-81-n...

    John R. Baker, P.E.
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

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    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    'governor is now taking credit for all the jobs that are being created as a result of the' Other than the state name, governors name, and the crisis, it sounds like my state.

    Not to downplay the Flint water crisis, we all seem to be treated badly by the government we elect.

    So exactly why do we elect them? Is the problem really us, or is it something else?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "The Flint water treatment plant has not operated in over 50 years."

    This is not the case.

    The public record also seems to pretty clearly state that Glasgow obtained F-1/F-2 certification well before the changeover to Flint River water was a glimmer in anyone's eye.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding "So exactly why do we elect them? Is the problem really us, or is it something else?"

    1. After being told incessantly for the last 40 years since Reagan how screwed up the government is and that your only choice between candidates is the lesser of two evils, most people don't bother to vote.

    2. Low information voters.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "The Flint water treatment plant has not operated in over 50 years."

    If the Flint water treatment plant had been operating, why was it so difficult to restart the water treatment plant for the emergency manager? I would offer that any qualified operator would have refused to restart the plant.

    Flint's old water treatment plant was taken out of service over 50 years ago when Flint switched to the Detroit water. Since then, the Flint water treatment plant has only been the backup supply should the Detroit pipeline fail. Considering the difficulty of starting up the old plant, the absence of a licensed water treatment plant operator, and the added expense of operating the old water treatment plant, it is hard to understand how the old water treatment would have operated for any significant length of time. Since the old Flint water treatment plant has not likely operated for any length of time, it would appear that Mr. Glasgow committed fraud to obtain his water license since experience operating a water treatment plant is a prerequisite to obtaining a water treatment license.

    Mr. Glasgow has never operated any other water treatment plant nor apprenticed with any other water treatment plant operator. The typical career path for a water treatment plant operator is that a new person would start out working under a senior operator to obtain experience. One doesn't get a license and just start operating without experience. The Flint fiasco is a good example of why someone lacking experience should be allowed to operate a water treatment plant whether he has a license or not.

    Mr. Glasgow was the person in responsible charge that approved the startup of the old Flint water treatment plant. Responsible charge means a licensed operator who has been designated by the system as the operator who has direct responsible charge for the operation and maintenance of the plant, distribution system or water system. If he had been more experienced, and responsible, he would not have authorized the startup.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "Mr. Glasgow has never operated any other water treatment plant nor apprenticed with any other water treatment plant operator"

    That you know of. You're inferring a lot from the very limited information available to all of us.

    I get that you're on a witch hunt to pin this entire thing on one guy, first it was Snyder, now it's Glasgow. It's more complicated than that. Failure at all levels is the simplest term.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Snyder, previous governors, and legislators over the last 30 years set the stage for the Flint fiasco by defunding the MDEQ. These people as well as the low information crowd who voted for them are the ones responsible. Snyder shares credit as he pushed through the $1.7 billion in tax cuts with little guarantee that the cuts will lead to job growth. “The results are likely to be very disappointing,” said Timothy Bartik, senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

    I was talking to someone that works for the EPA last night who told me that the MDEQ emergency response staff had also been defunded. He said that he was told to contact the Michigan State Police if there was an environmental emergency (train crash for example) in Michigan.

    Limited information? Really. The typical operator for a water treatment the size of Flint would have 20 years of experience. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see there is a problem with the Flint operating staff.

    Unfortunately for Mr. Glasgow, he just happened to be the guy in charge when the crap hit the fan.

    Get over it and go sign the Snyder recall petition.



    RE: Flint Municipal water

    *sigh*

    I don't know why I bother.

    You, along with the rest of us, know very little about this guy's employment history, and even the available information is contradictory and ambiguous for long stretches.

    But, of course, you need a Repubican to blame.

    You'd probably convince a lot more people if you were dispassionate, instead of ranting about the political affiliation of one official out of many.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Maybe this is a wrong impression, but it sort of looks like the government is suffering with the same problem as most business, in that NOW the cost to pay people is much higher than it was in the past.

    What some business has done is to automate so as to reduce the numbers of people required to do the same work. But Government has not been able to do that to the same extent. So the cost of government has increased faster than the budgets. To add to this, the amount of paper work has increased, which requires more people.

    The lack of success of automating government may have to do with the type of work, or the unionizing of the work force, or just bad decisions. However from looking at our local government, the unionizing may be only a small part as our local government is non-union, and has as many budget problems.

    Or it could just be the voters, and non-voters, are asking for more from the government and are unwilling to fund these new features.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Unions are not the crux of the problem. Example: Illinois is union government and pension is underfunded. Wisconsin is also union and pension is totally funded.

    A trend since government since the 1990's is to get tough on crime. Unfortunately, that is expensive as it costs to house the inmates and pay for the guards. None of the states increased taxes to pay for it. Instead, the states laid off other workers.

    The governments have been playing a shell game.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Sighing is not going to erase any facts. Are you stating that this fellow is a republican?

    Michael Glasgow is 40 years old;
    Graduated college in 1998
    Began work in Flint as Laboratory Supervisor in 2005
    Began work as Utilities Administrator in 2015

    So the question is, where in this work history did Mr. Glasgow magically pickup the required experience as a water treatment plant operator?

    "For nearly 10 years Mike Glasgow has worked in the laboratory at the City of Flint Water Service Center."
    https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/201...

    There is a reason that Mr. Glasgow is now being sued:

    "Administrator for the City of Flint. Glasgow is individually liable because as Utilities Administrator, he deliberately created, increased and prolonged the hazards of using Flint River water because he provided the MDEQ with misleading and inaccurate reports about the threats and dangers that arose by replacing of safe drinking washing and bathing water with a highly toxic alternative.
    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/01/10/may...


    For someone with no experience in the water treatment business as you stated yourself:

    "I'm sure there are people on this board who know more about the specifics of drinking water supply systems than I ever will- and I have no problem with admitting that."

    Don't understand why you keep coming up with excuses for these people. The republicans are supposed to be the party of personal responsibility.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I stopped reading this thread weeks ago, but I came back... now I remember why I stopped reading it sadeyes

    Dan - Owner
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "Sighing is not going to erase any facts. Are you stating that this fellow is a republican?"

    No. I'm stating what your line of posts is trying to imply- that Glasgow was unqualified and was appointed by Republicans, meaning that at the root of the issue Republicans are responsible for this fiasco because of their republicanism.

    I'm sighing because dealing with people who are afraid to admit when they don't know something is, to put it mildly, frustrating.


    "Michael Glasgow is 40 years old;
    Graduated college in 1998
    Began work in Flint as Laboratory Supervisor in 2005
    Began work as Utilities Administrator in 2015

    "So the question is, where in this work history did Mr. Glasgow magically pickup the required experience as a water treatment plant operator?

    "For nearly 10 years Mike Glasgow has worked in the laboratory at the City of Flint Water Service Center." [dead link redacted]"


    You have already stated in other posts that the guy is likely not 'a savvy linkedin type' and thus his linkedin page is not a reliable source for information about his exactly employment/responsibility history. You then turn around and use that exact set of limited information to declare that he is not qualified (after grossly oversimplifying the requirements to obtain F-1/F-2 certification in MI) based on his employment history.

    You can't have it both ways.

    "There is a reason that Mr. Glasgow is now being sued:

    "Administrator for the City of Flint. Glasgow is individually liable because as Utilities Administrator, he deliberately created, increased and prolonged the hazards of using Flint River water because he provided the MDEQ with misleading and inaccurate reports about the threats and dangers that arose by replacing of safe drinking washing and bathing water with a highly toxic alternative. [dead link redacted]"


    Right, because a civil suit surely means that whoever is doing the suing knows all the facts.

    "For someone with no experience in the water treatment business as you stated yourself:

    "I'm sure there are people on this board who know more about the specifics of drinking water supply systems than I ever will- and I have no problem with admitting that."

    Don't understand why you keep coming up with excuses for these people. The republicans are supposed to be the party of personal responsibility."


    I don't need to be in the water business to read and understand the certification process. You seem to think it's some big mystery that only you have the key to unlock, so you dumb it down and speak on it in what appears to me to be a deliberately misleading way.

    As far as the administrators above Glasgow, I'm not making excuses for them- I'm simply acknowledging the incontrovertible fact that I (and pretty much anyone whose knowledge of this is hearsay and internet news) don't know enough about the chain of events to state who acted ethically, and who did not. I'm very comfortable stating that the information is incomplete and that whatever I may think happened is, at best, my opinion. You seem very content to spout mostly unsupported opinions about various people's motivations as fact.

    I'll say it again- if you want to convince people, you'd be better off clearly stating what you know, admitting what you don't, and making conjectures based on that, instead of contradicting yourself and claiming that you know everything everyone else doesn't know based on the same sources of information.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    2
    Why are we back to blaming political parties? Honestly both of the major parties have a large amount of bad baggage, and I personally don't trust either one.
    But, this is about people, not political parties.

    This sort of stinks of cronyism, and both political parties are guilty of doing that.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Thank you. At least someone else sees it.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding "No. I'm stating what your line of posts is trying to imply- that Glasgow was unqualified and was appointed by Republicans, meaning that at the root of the issue Republicans are responsible for this fiasco because of their republicanism."

    I have never mentioned that Glasgow was hired by a republican. Flint is run by the democratic party, correct? So Glasgow was appointed by the democratic political types in charge of Flint. Don't see why you keep bringing politics into it. The responsible people should be fired or should resign, it is as simple as that.

    If you want to know who was responsible, read the report (uploaded below). It was written by a water professional, not a politician.

    Here is an example from the report:

    "The Flint Utilities Department personnel were under-trained, inexperience with full-time plant operations, and ill-prepared to manage complex water chemistry issues. We note that selected staff members conveyed concerns as events unfolded, only to have those concerns discounted. Several aspects of the situation are particularly troubling."........

    "In summary, while we cannot begin to explain or excuse MDEQ's transgressions in its oversight of the conversion to the Flint River water supply, the Flint Public Works role in the crisis appears attributable to an inexperienced and poorly resourced organization struggling to take on enormous, untenable responsibilities. Flint's EM, relying on sole-sourced consultant support, held responsibility for ensuring adequate staffing, training, and preparation for conversion of Flint's drinking water source. Those responsibilities were not met.

    Findings

    F-23. Flint Public Works personnel were ill-prepared to assume responsiblity for full-time operation of the the Flint WTP and distribution system."



    Sighing, isn't this the same thing that I have been posted previously? If you had worked in the water business, you would not have to read the report to understand what was going on.

    If you want to understand the issue in depth, stop posting here and read the report. If you have a fact please post it. But lacking facts, don't go back to the politics.






    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "I have never mentioned that Glasgow was hired by a republican. Flint is run by the democratic party, correct? So Glasgow was appointed by the democratic political types in charge of Flint. Don't see why you keep bringing politics into it. The responsible people should be fired or should resign, it is as simple as that."

    Oh, so now you have no political motive, huh?

    This is your first sentence posted in this thread:

    "This was not an engineering failure, just another failure of the right wingnuts and their nonsense policies."

    This an excerpt from my first post:

    "Please don't attempt to push your own personal political agenda by making this a partisan issue. It isn't one."

    You talked up an down about how this was entirely the Republican's fault from the beginning, and then quit the political discourse when it became clear everyone else wasn't buying what you were selling.

    If you would have stuck to posting useful information (which you did a lot of in spite of your political raving) this e-fight never would have started. Take a deep breath, go read all the posts where I asked questions and stated in clear terms that I'm not in the industry and don't know everything about running a water plant, and begged you to give up on the politics and stick to facts, and go about your day. Please. This is getting old.

    And also:

    ", the Flint Public Works role in the crisis appears attributable to an inexperienced and poorly resourced organization struggling to take on enormous, untenable responsibilities."

    This is literally the argument I've been making since the Glasgow issue became the primary topic of discussion.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    3
    HEY GUYS!

    Remember the name of this website? The discussion should be about engineering, or failures thereof. Politics should be, at BEST (worst?), a sideline mentioned in passing when it comes to engineering.

    So drop it...

    Dan - Owner
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    So my political vent. Why do we accept cronyism from either party? Why do we vote for these people?

    Is this an engineering failure at all? Would this be more of an operational person failure? I don't have a problem of us digging into water chemistry, but why do we as engineers want to be associated with this?

    The thing I see is there was oversight, but they were also not looking. I suspect that the oversight is so complacent with everything being fine, and now they quit looking.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    But, aren't most failures that might be listed here ultimately people failures?

    > Cranes fall because people failed to anticipate severe weather or overloading, or bad geometries
    > Buildings that collapsed because someone(s) took shortcuts
    > Bridges collapsing because of poor maintenance, or poor planning, or poor sequencing of operations, or poor construction, or poor design

    TTFN
    I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "So my political vent. Why do we accept cronyism from either party? Why do we vote for these people?"

    Power propagates power. Our system is a huge mess. It does seem as if the tide is at least beginning to turn, and people are realizing they can act to force change.

    "Is this an engineering failure at all? Would this be more of an operational person failure? I don't have a problem of us digging into water chemistry, but why do we as engineers want to be associated with this?"

    It seems to me that the people who failed to act (EPA, or water department personnel, people at the DEQ, whomever) knew there was a problem and didn't act because of political pressure or in some cases a personal lack of decisiveness.

    I would argue that as engineers, we bear a moral responsibility in any safety-critical role to make it clear to decision makers above us (who often may not/do not fully understand the system of set of variables under their control) what is important and what isn't. It seems to me that this situation stems from some failures at the actual number-crunching engineering level, and many more failures at the bureaucratic level, because decision makers failed to empower or listen to their engineers, and the engineers were either incompetent or willing to compromise where they shouldn't have been.

    "The thing I see is there was oversight, but they were also not looking. I suspect that the oversight is so complacent with everything being fine, and now they quit looking."

    Oversight only works if either A) the people making decisions know what they don't know, and empower their technical staff as a result or B) the decision makers have enough technical knowledge to be a part of the conversation.

    It appears to me that in this case, whether you look at the EPA, the MDEQ, the local government, or the state government, neither of the above was true. That's a perfect storm really. These four organizations bear different levels of responsibility with regard to the water quality of this town, but ultimately all of them were in a position to at least mitigate the problem early on, and no one made an attempt, even as the information began to roll in. My suspicion is that if Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha or the Virginia Tech researchers hadn't dug into this, we might still not be aware.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    My point is calling Flint an engineering issue is incorrect. It may better be called a management issue, and to lay the blame of the managers who made bad decisions, and should have known better.

    No one knows it all, but to not seek the advise of the professionals is not the fault of the professionals.

    To be blamed for bad management was not why I became an engineer. Is that why you became an engineer?

    Pass the failures on, and keep the credit for success is not a sign of a good manager.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "My point is calling Flint an engineering issue is incorrect. It may better be called a management issue, and to lay the blame of the managers who made bad decisions, and should have known better.

    No one knows it all, but to not seek the advise of the professionals is not the fault of the professionals.

    To be blamed for bad management was not why I became an engineer. Is that why you became an engineer?

    Pass the failures on, and keep the credit for success is not a sign of a good manager."

    In case it wasn't clear, what I am saying agrees with this, if not quite completely.

    If we're counting technical staff managing the water system as 'engineers' (which it seems we are even though they aren't degreed/titled as such) than this WAS an engineering failure in part. I deal with safety issues on a daily basis, and I feel that in order for my company to build safe systems, it is absolutely vital to my role that I understand the rules, and that I do not allow them to be circumvented.

    In this case, rules were circumvented because of political or management pressure from on high- but part of being a good engineer is knowing that sometimes, you have to take a stand. The law says so.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    jgKRI, you seem to be blaming the little guy at the bottom for not following the rules when the root cause of the problem is due to the poor policy decisions that were made by the people at the top levels of government.

    By the way, in government, the management decisions are the responsibility of the executive branch where the governor is responsible for overall management of the government. Since your are calling this partly a management issue, does this mean that you are now ready to sign the recall petition?

    Regarding: In this case, rules where circumvented because of political or management pressure from on high- but part of being a good engineer is knowing that sometimes, you have to take a stand. The law says so.

    Underfunding the MDEQ and the City of Flint is not a political pressure or a management pressure, it is a conscious (nonsensical) decision that was made by the Governor and the legislature. There is no one else to blame for this. The unqualified water treatment operator at the bottom of the food chain does not fund the government.

    Regarding: If we're counting technical staff managing the water system as 'engineers' (which it seems we are even though they aren't degreed/titled as such) than this WAS an engineering failure in part. I deal with safety issues on a daily basis, and I feel that in order for my company to build safe systems, it is absolutely vital to my role that I understand the rules, and that I do not allow them to be circumvented.

    Water treatment operators are no more a technical staff than a bus driver. Water treatment plant operators generally consist of people with a high school education who have decided to make a career out of operations. These positions are blue collar factory worker type jobs. Water treatment operators are trained to operate equipment in accordance with instructions provided by engineers and the equipment manufacturers. Water treatment operators in general do not possess the education and background to make policy decisions. Nor are water treatment operators qualified to make decisions as to the type of water treatment equipment that is used nor the type of water treatment process that is used. I don't think that Mr. Glasgow would even claim to be an engineer as you suggest.

    I would offer that the hiring and employment of unqualified people by the City of Flint as well as the failure to staff at adequate levels is due to underfunding. The failure to staff the MDEQ is due to underfunding.

    The root cause of this fiasco is underfunding of government. If the MDEQ had been adequately funded, the poor policy decision made by the Governor to hire an entrepreneurship advocate as the MDEQ Director would not have been catastrophic. If the City of Flint had been adequately funded, the poor policy decision by the Governor to hire an Emergency Manager to cut additional costs from the Flint government would never have been made. If the City of Flint had been funded properly, the City of Flint would have hired a qualified water treatment operator.

    An engineering failure is when a design is inadequate for the intended purpose. Policy decisions made by the governor and state legislature are not an engineering design and can not be considered as an engineering failure.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I hear that the state AG is looking at pressing charges.

    I would also argue that under-funding maybe required because of the political requirements being placed on the government by the people. That said, many other departments in other state governments are also likely under-funded. However, we don't see them in the headlines. The reasons maybe they are more efficient, or have other work that is not being completed.
    The point is under-funding is a managers issue, not a reason to skip required work. Required work maybe a perspective issue, like reducing janitor services, or window washing.

    The fact is managers in government agencies either need to suck it up, or make a political statement. Those without a backbone will never make a political statement.

    The other issue here is "we don't like city of Detroit", is not a reason to change water sources. Was there an economic reason, or was it a managers bad attitude?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I think my previous post makes it pretty clear that I blame everyone involved.

    The only way this issue happens is if there are failures at the local, regional, state, AND federal oversight levels.

    If you want to say that the water treatment plant staff aren't engineers, I'm not going to disagree. Applying that title to them is a stretch.

    There were, however, engineers in the chain, and the result was not an acceptable one. Why Mike Prysby isn't getting more attention on this, I don't know.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding "The other issue here is "we don't like city of Detroit", is not a reason to change water sources. Was there an economic reason, or was it a managers bad attitude?"

    That had to do with another political scam as well and being a huge mistake. See the post on 17 Feb 16 05:12. The people involved with that decision should also face criminal charges.

    If not already bankrupt, the decision to change water sources would have bankrupted Flint.

    Details about the KWA fiasco:

    http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/02/15/bi-partisan-d...

    Reading the Voice article, it appears the Flint politicians and Genesee County Commissioner were together is starting this mess.

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/fli....

    Genesee County Drain Commissioner is the CEO of the KWA

    Unfortunately, there appears to be a large number of public officials in the State of Michigan who are inept or corrupt.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "The other issue here is "we don't like city of Detroit", is not a reason to change water sources. Was there an economic reason, or was it a managers bad attitude?"

    For approximately the last 50 years Lapeer, Genesee, and Sanilac county municipalities have purchased water from the City of Detroit. During that time these areas paid relatively high costs for their water. The Karegnondi Water Authority was formed by those counties to build a new system pulling water from Lake Huron, so that they would own their own source and see lower costs long term.

    The motivation was cost reduction, pure and simple. 'We don't like the City of Detroit' is not a sentiment that's common as far as I can tell. Most of the economy of southeast Michigan, which includes these counties, is a direct result of business conducted in Detroit. This isn't a situation where one part of the state detests another part and makes political decisions as a result.

    The KWA plan is still moving forward. They say they will have the ability to deliver lake water to Flint and the other municipalities by July of 2016. We'll see if they make it.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    And how was it that the people who made the decision to switch from the Detroit-based system didn't simply wait the 2 years or so that it was going to take to get the new system up and running? Did they really think that NOT waiting was going to help save them that much money?

    John R. Baker, P.E.
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
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    UG/NX Museum:

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    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "Once additional costs and risks are factored in, the rates paid by Flint’s water customers will be substantially higher than current rates with the DWSD system."

    For various reasons, municipal projects end up costing substantially more than originally estimated.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    How does LAN engineering play into the Flint's water departments mistakes?
    $3.8m in contracts for Flint water department design and service?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "And how was it that the people who made the decision to switch from the Detroit-based system didn't simply wait the 2 years or so that it was going to take to get the new system up and running? Did they really think that NOT waiting was going to help save them that much money?"

    Initially, their plan WAS to remain on DWSD water until Karagnondi was ready.

    Once the KWA gained traction, DWSD sent the City of Flint a termination notice- that one year from the date the notice was sent, April of 2013 if I'm remembering correctly, the DSWD would no longer provide their water. This began a mad scramble to find an alternate source to bridge the gap between April of '13 and the KWA startup date.

    DWSD and City of Flint officials met multiple times, but Flint was never happy with the terms proposed by DWSD- namely that DWSD would not accept a structured rate increase schedule- they wanted the ability to charge the City of Flint whatever they wanted, without tying it to inflation of the market or whatever. It is true (as someone, either John or Bimr I think already stated) that DWSD came back to the table with an offer that consisted of a ~40% rate cut- but this cut was guaranteed for one year only. After the first year of the deal, there was no further provision for price control.

    I'm not advocating in favor of the KWA- it just doesn't appear to me that the KWA was a crooked deal. Flint needed to do something about controlling water costs, and the KWA is what they and surrounding communities decided on.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Any time that a business has a monoply situation, the price of the product will be whatever the market will bear.

    I would suspect that Flint will be in the same situation with KWA in the future as with Detroit. Flint is just changing the poison.

    It is important to note that the MDEQ approves all of these arrangements. The MDEQ could have pressured any of these parties to make a better deal. All it would have taken is a phone call from the governor to resolve the water war.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Looks like it was all about money (and well paid positions on the authority for various politicians).

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "The officials are facing multiple felonies and misdemeanors accusing them of misconduct, tampering with evidence, and “willfully” misleading federal officials, more than six months after Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan admitted his administration gravely misunderstood the extent of a lead contamination problem in Flint."

    "According to a complaint issued on Wednesday, Busch and Prysby “willfully and knowingly” misled federal officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Genesee County health department between February 2015 and November 2015. The misconduct in office charges, the complaint stated, mean officials violated their “duty to provide clean and safe drinking water” to residents in the county."

    The Michigan Attorney General is quoted as saying that the EPA was willfully mislead.

    Wow, does that change your opinion of the EPA, jgKRI?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    If nothing else, this makes it pretty much an all-Michigan issue. While I had some concerns about the Republican Attorney General being responsible for this investigation, I've been told that the people he brought in from the outside to actually conduct the investigations and to formulate the charges, that these were highly reputable people with impeccable credentials. As there are other investigations underway, it's going to take awhile before all of the responsible parties have been identified and I suspect that it may eventually reach higher than just the three relatively low-level individuals named in today's indictments.

    John R. Baker, P.E.
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Draw the chart that shows the link for the chain of command of how the decision came down. This visual will put the bulls eyes squarely on someone's forehead.

    Fire them all and put them all into prison. Bet you they will all be singing. I doubt very much anyone will be taking one for the gipper

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "Any time that a business has a monoply situation, the price of the product will be whatever the market will bear.

    I would suspect that Flint will be in the same situation with KWA in the future as with Detroit. Flint is just changing the poison.

    It is important to note that the MDEQ approves all of these arrangements. The MDEQ could have pressured any of these parties to make a better deal. All it would have taken is a phone call from the governor to resolve the water war."


    The City of Flint is a member of the KWA board, not just a customer, meaning they have input on things like rate adjustments. They did NOT have a seat on the DWSD (or the GLWA) board and were denied board seats when they asked for them.


    Looks like it was all about money (and well paid positions on the authority for various politicians).


    The KWA financials are externally audited and publicly available. You'd be well served to read them before you make accusations like that. I have read them- and while I'm not an expert on the operation of a water plant, I DO deal with financial planning on this scale. From what is publicly available, the KWA to this point seems to be well run. The project is slightly behind schedule but appears to be coming in under budget, and is following the bond repayment schedule exactly.

    Is it possible there were ulterior (financial) motives? Of course it's possible. I can't crawl into Jeff Wright's brain and hear his thoughts. All I can do is read the financials and form an opinion.

    "The officials are facing multiple felonies and misdemeanors accusing them of misconduct, tampering with evidence, and “willfully” misleading federal officials, more than six months after Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan admitted his administration gravely misunderstood the extent of a lead contamination problem in Flint."

    "According to a complaint issued on Wednesday, Busch and Prysby “willfully and knowingly” misled federal officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Genesee County health department between February 2015 and November 2015. The misconduct in office charges, the complaint stated, mean officials violated their “duty to provide clean and safe drinking water” to residents in the county."

    The Michigan Attorney General is quoted as saying that the EPA was willfully mislead.

    Wow, does that change your opinion of the EPA, jgKRI?"


    Considering that the EPA knew about this issue well before February 2015, no, it does not. It is incontrovertible that they had a chance to act, and instead withheld that information from public view.

    The MDEQ and local water management staff are directly responsible for the creation of the problem, but the EPA is at least partly responsible for allowing it to continue for as long as it did- had they released what they knew when they knew it, the process of fixing the problem would have started much earlier, and lead exposure of the Flint population would have been significantly reduced. I don't understand how anyone could think that they are completely without blame.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding: "The City of Flint is a member of the KWA board, not just a customer, meaning they have input on things like rate adjustments. They did NOT have a seat on the DWSD (or the GLWA) board and were denied board seats when they asked for them."

    A seat on the board is OK, but having the majority voting rights (+51%) is much more important and relevant. Flint is a minority on the KWA board.

    What do you think will happen when Flint does not have the money to pay the water bill?

    Public authorities operate with a tremendous amount of autonomy, little transparency, incur debt without voter approval, and remain largely unknown and unrecognized entities. Good luck with that.

    The State of Michigan report that was prepared by an independent consultant states:

    1. The KWA water will cost at least 20% more than Detroit water;
    2. Requires Flint to upgrade the Flint water treatment plant at additional expense to process the KWA water;
    3. Doesn't appear that the work on the Flint water treatment plant has even started;
    4. Now that Mr. Glasgow will be in jail, Flint will have to find new water treatment plant operators;
    5. Pay for excess water because the old Flint distribution system is leaking excessively;
    6. Have no backup water supply since KWA has no standby generators (major risk);
    7. Have a single source of water supply because Detroit water is gone as well as Flint River Supply is repurposed;
    8. Pay for 30% of the pipeline cost while other communities on KWA board pay nothing.

    What financials are you looking at? Some crystal ball?

    The Fourth Estate is supposed to be the muckrackers, not the EPA.

    OK, so the EPA is supposed to be responsible for not making the lying, misleading, inept, fraudulent MDEQ and Flint do their job. But later, the State of Michigan says the EPA has no legal authority.

    "Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Keith Creagh, in a Friday letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, disputed whether the EPA “has the legal authority” to require a state to take the actions outlined in the order, saying the state would share those concerns by letter or in person."

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/201...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding: "The City of Flint is a member of the KWA board, not just a customer, meaning they have input on things like rate adjustments. They did NOT have a seat on the DWSD (or the GLWA) board and were denied board seats when they asked for them."

    A seat on the board is OK, but having the majority voting rights (+51%) is much more important and relevant. Flint is a minority on the KWA board.

    What do you think will happen when Flint does not have the money to pay the water bill?


    I'm aware of this. 49% of the vote is better than 0%, especially when the current situation involved Flint having the per-gallon highest water costs of any DWSD customer.

    Public authorities operate with a tremendous amount of autonomy, little transparency, incur debt without voter approval, and remain largely unknown and unrecognized entities. Good luck with that.

    ok.

    The State of Michigan report that was prepared by an independent consultant states:

    1. The KWA water will cost at least 20% more than Detroit water;
    2. Requires Flint to upgrade the Flint water treatment plant at additional expense to process the KWA water;
    3. Doesn't appear that the work on the Flint water treatment plant has even started;
    4. Now that Mr. Glasgow will be in jail, Flint will have to find new water treatment plant operators;
    5. Pay for excess water because the old Flint distribution system is leaking excessively;
    6. Have no backup water supply since KWA has no standby generators (major risk);
    7. Have a single source of water supply because Detroit water is gone as well as Flint River Supply is repurposed;
    8. Pay for 30% of the pipeline cost while other communities on KWA board pay nothing.


    The cost estimates of the TJTY report were based on two inaccurate premises:

    1) They estimated that the KWA project would cost something like $100 million more than initially estimated, and that this cost would be passed on to water customers. KWA is currently, according to the information that is publicly available, nearly complete and under budget despite being a month or so behind schedule- meaning that the TJTY report overestimates pipeline construction cost by $100 million. That's a lot.

    2) The report uses the DWSD's initial 48% rate cut as the base point for future water costs, and then applies the regional average cost increase to estimate future rates. The problem with that is that after the first year of the potential new lease, there were no price control measures in the contract- meaning that DWSD could charge Flint whatever they wanted, and the city would be back at square one, except without the option of finding another source. In other words, TJTY might have been 100% correct about the water rate 30 years from now, but they also may have missed the mark by 100% or 500%. There is no way to no, because Flint would have had zero control over their own costs by signing a new lease with DWSD.

    What financials are you looking at? Some crystal ball?


    I'm looking at the monthly financial statements published by the KWA every month since its inception, as well as the audits performed by third party firms. It's not very complicated.

    OK, so the EPA is supposed to be responsible for not making the lying, misleading, inept, fraudulent MDEQ and Flint do their job. But later, the State of Michigan says the EPA has no legal authority.

    "Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Keith Creagh, in a Friday letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, disputed whether the EPA “has the legal authority” to require a state to take the actions outlined in the order, saying the state would share those concerns by letter or in person."

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/201...


    You're not understanding what I'm saying. Regardless of the EPA's legal role in directing the MDEQ or Flint water treatment staff in how to operate the plant- they had in their possession test data that indicated the drinking water in Flint was contaminated, and did nothing to make the people drinking that water aware. That's negligent, at best.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Must be something in the water in Michigan as the math is fuzzy.

    "18 MGDs to 15 MGDs would change the take diameter for the piping from 66” to 54” — that’s where savings comes from," Genesee County Drain Commissioner and KWA CEO Jeff Wright told the council after breaking down the math for them. "You started at 36 MGDs in the study and that’s what had you at $12 million annually — currently what you’re paying Detroit.

    Jeff Wright was quoted as saying Flint is paying $12 million annually to Detroit for treated water.

    The Flint EM bought 18 MGD of water from KWA. The cost of 18 MGD of untreated water has an operating cost of $355,300 x 18 MGD or $6,395,400 per year.
    Plus the capital costs of $81,726,467 financed over 25 years at 5% or $5,556,352 per year.

    That comes to $11,951,752 or about the same as purchasing treated water from Detroit.

    Plus you have to add the cost of upgrading and operating the existing Flint Water Treatment Plant to treat the KWA water.

    1. Using the KWA's figures, this comparison shows that the KWA water is more expensive than Detroit water.
    2. Flint will now be tasked with operating their own water treatment plant assuming additional responsibilities.
    3. There is no back water supply, one would assume that Flint would need extra storage at additional expense.
    4. Flint only needs 9 MGD of water (99,000 people x 90 gal per capita per day), yet the EM bought 18 MGD.
    5. While the KWA was often touted as a "cost-saving" solution — likely so it could appeal to Flint residents frustrated with rising water bills — the true motivations behind the project were focused on new economic opportunities for the region. A poor community like Flint is actually subsidizing economic development outside their community.
    6. After 40 years Flint will own 30% of the project and can sell their share of ownership if they want. However, the 40 years is also past design life of project like this.
    7. Water rates in Flint will be higher than before.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I see where some here want to lay blame at the feet of the recent Republican leadership at the State level. Well, this problem was a long time a'comin, and waaaay predates the current Republicans in office. The problem started decades ago. And it was allowed to stay, and fester, by decades of local and state leadership. In truth, this is the kind of result one can expect after decades of liberal, Democrat leadership, as Flint has been thus dominated for years. Look around the country. Where is the infrastructure in the absolute worst shape? In primarily, and a majority of, communities ruled by liberal Democrats, and their often corrupt allies. The wind was sown by their policies, and now the residents reap the resulting whirlwind.

    Thaidavid

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    @IRstuff,
    If you last statement is in response to my post, then you are reading into my statement words which I did not say. I never impugned incorruption to Republicans (indeed, I am not that naive). I only associated the Democrat corruption with the problems now extant in Flint.

    Thaidavid

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Within five minutes of the start of the democratic debate in Flint, both 'candidates' called for the removal of the Republican Governor over this matter. One can only wonder if this would have happened if a dem had been governor. Yes, most assuredly, politics has no bearing on this issue.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Check their hand sizes.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I think these last few posts show how sad current politics are. There seems to be no more of, "the buck stops here," and falling on one's metaphorical sword, for the good of the party. No doubt this was exacerbated by Watergate, when a loyal cohort all few on their swords to protect Nixon.

    I've often posited the notion that no one ever matures beyond the age of 8, or so, where the response to a crime is, "not me," or, "he did it." I've rarely seen it go differently. Seems too often now, for people to continually deny their own culpability until the evidence is completely overwhelming, which is pretty typical of 8-yr olds.

    TTFN
    I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Must be something in the water in Michigan as the math is fuzzy.

    "18 MGDs to 15 MGDs would change the take diameter for the piping from 66” to 54” — that’s where savings comes from," Genesee County Drain Commissioner and KWA CEO Jeff Wright told the council after breaking down the math for them. "You started at 36 MGDs in the study and that’s what had you at $12 million annually — currently what you’re paying Detroit.

    Jeff Wright was quoted as saying Flint is paying $12 million annually to Detroit for treated water.

    The Flint EM bought 18 MGD of water from KWA. The cost of 18 MGD of untreated water has an operating cost of $355,300 x 18 MGD or $6,395,400 per year.
    Plus the capital costs of $81,726,467 financed over 25 years at 5% or $5,556,352 per year.

    That comes to $11,951,752 or about the same as purchasing treated water from Detroit.

    Plus you have to add the cost of upgrading and operating the existing Flint Water Treatment Plant to treat the KWA water.

    1. Using the KWA's figures, this comparison shows that the KWA water is more expensive than Detroit water.
    2. Flint will now be tasked with operating their own water treatment plant assuming additional responsibilities.
    3. There is no back water supply, one would assume that Flint would need extra storage at additional expense.
    4. Flint only needs 9 MGD of water (99,000 people x 90 gal per capita per day), yet the EM bought 18 MGD.
    5. While the KWA was often touted as a "cost-saving" solution — likely so it could appeal to Flint residents frustrated with rising water bills — the true motivations behind the project were focused on new economic opportunities for the region. A poor community like Flint is actually subsidizing economic development outside their community.
    6. After 40 years Flint will own 30% of the project and can sell their share of ownership if they want. However, the 40 years is also past design life of project like this.
    7. Water rates in Flint will be higher than before.


    Once again, ALL of the price projections in the TJTY report are based on the assumption that the first-year lease rate would be maintained as the base, and that the rate increases going forward would be at or near the regional average.

    Nothing in the history of the Flint-DWSD relationship indicates this was likely. Flint has paid higher-than-market rates and paid higher-than-market increases. The TJTY report is unrealistic. It's not a valid bases for a cost argument.

    Secondly, The goal of the KWA is to reduce cost long term. even the flawed numbers you're using indicate that once the bonds are paid, the water rates fall pretty drastically. So, why would this be seen as a negative?

    And finally...

    Economic development is VITAL for the recovery of the area. Flint is what it is today because of the exodus of light industry. So, once again, why is an attempt to bring jobs to the area a bad thing?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Sadly I agree with some of the political truffle, but I would like to not go there. And I believe it would be better if we don't get into the weeds of political pin pushing.

    I can't help to think that people in both major parties tend to hide and push problems into the next parties administration as a point of something for the news to find.

    Honestly, both major parties have an agenda item for blaming problems on each other rather than working for the public.

    But so far I have only heard three people being held on charges of hiding evedance. Really that's all they could find?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    jgKRI (Mechanical)

    You seem to ignore reality.

    It is a standard political procedure to compare your favored alternative to an unaffordable alternative. Politicians frequently increase the price of the unfavored alternative to whatever they want since it will not be built.

    Economic development is fine, but do you really want the government to be picking the winners and losers. And how are the Flint suburbs planning to compete with the likes of South Carolina and Alabama. South Carolina has given the bulk of their States funds for infrastructure to economic development. Alabama gave something like $400 million to Mercedes to built an automobile factory.

    How are the Flint suburbs planning to compete against States?

    One thing that I noticed about all of the factory jobs moving south. The companies are not paying the same wages. What good is it to work in a factory in Alabama and only make $20 per hour.

    Don't think it is rational to compute higher cost increases to one authority (Great Lakes Water Authority) and the other authority (KWA).

    "Secondly, The goal of the KWA is to reduce cost long term. even the flawed numbers you're using indicate that once the bonds are paid, the water rates fall pretty drastically. So, why would this be seen as a negative?"

    When was the last time that you heard an authority going out of business when the bonds were paid off? They always come up with another project to continue the business. You live in IL. The tollway bonds were paid off years ago.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Dude.. you're grasping at straws.

    You seem to ignore reality.

    It is a standard political procedure to compare your favored alternative to an unaffordable alternative. Politicians frequently increase the price of the unfavored alternative to whatever they want since it will not be built.


    Uh... The TJTY report you keep referencing was commissioned by the State, not by DWSD or KWA. I can't see any obvious reason why TJTY would sway their analysis one way or the other.

    Once that report is evaluated based on actual reality, it makes it pretty clear that the KWA is approximately cost-neutral until the bonds are paid, and cost negative afterward, with the added benefit of local control.


    Economic development is fine, but do you really want the government to be picking the winners and losers. And how are the Flint suburbs planning to compete with the likes of South Carolina and Alabama. South Carolina has given the bulk of their States funds for infrastructure to economic development. Alabama gave something like $400 million to Mercedes to built an automobile factory.


    How is the government picking winners and losers? The government isn't involved. KWA is a corporation, which found a customer, and will attempt to find others.

    How are the Flint suburbs planning to compete against States?

    How are they planning to compete? Oh, I don't know, by building infrastructure that would allow those industries to return, maybe? That's great for SC and AL- but you can't attract new industries to Sanilac County, MI unless there is infrastructure there to support said industry. Currently, that infrastructure does not exist. What would you have them do? Watch other areas prosper and not take any steps to even attempt to make the area attractive for businesses? Other than just disagreeing with everything I say because you think I'm stupid or whatever, is there something cohesive that you're actually trying to say? What you're saying makes zero sense.

    Don't think it is rational to compute higher cost increases to one authority (Great Lakes Water Authority) and the other authority (KWA).

    The history of the DWSD/GLWA-Flint relationship indicates that it is unlikely that re-signing with GLWA would be a long-term cost effective option. There's nothing in the past that would suggest that GLWA was likely to just charge Flint market rates and increases- it had literally never happened over their 50 year history.

    "Secondly, The goal of the KWA is to reduce cost long term. even the flawed numbers you're using indicate that once the bonds are paid, the water rates fall pretty drastically. So, why would this be seen as a negative?"

    When was the last time that you heard an authority going out of business when the bonds were paid off? They always come up with another project to continue the business. You live in IL. The tollway bonds were paid off years ago.


    I live in Michigan. So I know very little about tollway bonds. Once again, what're you trying to say? You think Jeff Wright is going to embezzle $100 million from the KWA so that 50 years from now when upgrades are needed the coffers will be empty? The KWA isn't making money off of the bonds- they're making money by selling a lot of water at a competitive rate, and assuming no one breaks the law, that money will get re-invested into the system when the time comes.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Still trying to point the finger of blame, either at something or away from something.

    Facts: Was the plant designed right?
    Did a person operate it correctly?
    Did a super government agency become involved?
    Was it really an engineering mistake?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I am referencing common sense, not a TJTY report. You seem to be lost in the phoney numbers and don't understand the big picture. There is no way that one can build a new asset (approximately $300M) and compete economically against a paid off asset. The Detroit infrastructure is paid off. For Detroit, selling water was like printing money, a golden goose business opportunity.

    The KWA is an authority, not a private company. An authority is a quasi-governmental agency.

    Only one aspect of economic development is water supply. There is no way that selling only water will provide economic development. And very few businesses these days use large volumes of water.

    There is no way that an authority such as the KWA has the financial clout (major authorities such as the port authority of NY/NJ do have the resources) to compete with a larger player such as a State in economic development. The resources given away by an authority are not free either. Free water given to company X has to be paid for by someone else.

    It is scandalous to charge the poor community of Flint a higher cost water and turn around and give away water to make economic development in other areas of the county.

    Given the opportunity, a monopoly (like the KWA) will also charge whatever the market will bear. That is why public service commissions were created years ago; a mechanism to set the rates charged by monopolies. To rein in the cost that monopoly's will try to charge.

    Regarding jobs in Michigan, that ship has already sailed. The jobs are not coming back. Most people fail to realize that when businesses are relocated, the relocated business are generally automated with new equipment. When business are relocated, fewer jobs are created at the new locations.

    If you want to see a job creator, go down to your local school. Jobs are created through the education of the public, not with some two bit economic development scam. Mr. Wright comes to town, just like in the music man, a big scam.




    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Still trying to point the finger of blame, either at something or away from something.

    I know what you're getting at. Based on what we know right now, it seems to me that this WAS an engineering mistake.

    Facts: Was the plant designed right?

    No, in the sense that there was no additional corrosion control system(s) added before the changeover. This is the result of Mike Prysby, engineer from the MDEQ (who I believe is a PE, but not 100% sure on that) recommending that no additional corrosion control was necessary, because he (willfully or otherwise) misinterpreted the law requiring corrosion control.

    Did a person operate it correctly?

    This is a gray area... To me it seems that Glasgow was put in a very difficult situation. He was apparently under great pressure to make the Flint plant ready to pump water, but was not given the resources required to do so, both in staff and equipment. The chain of emails seems to make it clear that Glasgow was aware the plant was not ready, and the decision to switch to the Flint plant full time as early as they did was one that he disagreed with. It's not clear to me if he could have refused to turn the valve and forced everyone to listen to him. If he did actually have that power, than he succumbed to political pressure in allowing the plant to operate full time, and bears more responsibility than I'm giving him here.

    Did a super government agency become involved?

    Does the MDEQ count? If so, than yes. The MDEQ was involved every step of the way, from the planning stages on.

    Was it really an engineering mistake?

    Yes. Prysby is an engineer, and his decision to recommend that additional corrosion control was not necessary seems to me to be the root-cause of root-causes so to speak.


    I am referencing common sense, not a TJTY report. You seem to be lost in the phoney numbers and don't understand the big picture. There is no way that one can build a new asset (approximately $300M) and compete economically against a paid off asset. The Detroit infrastructure is paid off. For Detroit, selling water was like printing money, a golden goose business opportunity.


    I'd agree completely that a financed asset is always going to cost more than a wholly owned asset- when the wholly owned asset is trading its commodity at the market rate

    That simply was not happening. You yourself brought up, earlier in the thread, that Flint's water rate was well above the level it should have been relative to MHI. DWSD was gouging the residents of Flint. That right there is the primary flaw in your logic- if DWSD was charging Flint a fair market rate, the entire plan for the KWA completely falls apart. That simply was not happening. Period. There's no arguing it. Flint was using 10% of the DWSD supply and paying 20% of the revenue.

    Only one aspect of economic development is water supply. There is no way that selling only water will provide economic development. And very few businesses these days use large volumes of water.

    That's a gross generalization that is most certainly not true. Power generation, agriculture, manufacturing, and numerous other industries need water in large quantities. I work in the manufacturing sector, this is an issue I know intimately. If anything, industrial water usage per product dollar is on the rise. The drive to reduce the use of aromatic compounds in industry, for example the change from solvent-borne to water-borne paints in automotive and other coatings applications, makes water availability and quality more important than it used to be. I am typing this post while I'm sitting at a job site monitoring the install of a brand-new paint shop (in Michigan, relocated from Washington state) that will use water-borne paint. A big chunk of the $150 million budget of this project is the installation of a shiny new water treatment plant on site, owned and operated by the plant. You can't tell me that water in high quantities isn't important to bringing industries back here.

    There is no way that an authority such as the KWA has the financial clout (major authorities such as the port authority of NY/NJ do have the resources) to compete with a larger player such as a State in economic development. The resources given away by an authority are not free either. Free water given to company X has to be paid for by someone else.

    I would agree. But the existence of the KWA allows government agencies that DO have sway in economic development to pitch the area. It's not the only selling point for bringing businesses to the area, but it is a selling point nonetheless.

    It is scandalous to charge the poor community of Flint a higher cost water and turn around and give away water to make economic development in other areas of the county.

    So it's scandalous for the KWA to charge Flint an above-market rate (which they're not as far as I can tell) but it's ok for the DWSD to charge them an above market rate? Uhh.... ok.

    Given the opportunity, a monopoly (like the KWA) will also charge whatever the market will bear. That is why public service commissions were created years ago; a mechanism to set the rates charged by monopolies. To rein in the cost that monopoly's will try to charge.

    The existence of the KWA breaks a monopoly- previously held by the DWSD/GLWA. There is nothing stopping Flint from changing back to the GLWA as a water source in the future, if the new competition from the KWA forces the GLWA to actually sell at the market rate.

    Regarding jobs in Michigan, that ship has already sailed. The jobs are not coming back. Most people fail to realize that when businesses are relocated, the relocated business are generally automated with new equipment. When business are relocated, fewer jobs are created at the new locations.

    'Fraid not. Is Michigan going to be 'the' hub of automotive manufacturing that it once was? Doubtful. But the state is slowly recovering. You don't live or work here, stick to talking about what you know about.

    If you want to see a job creator, go down to your local school. Jobs are created through the education of the public, not with some two bit economic development scam. Mr. Wright comes to town, just like in the music man, a big scam.


    You can't fund an education system with money you don't have. How do you pump money into a community? You create jobs.

    No doubt that Flint (and most of the rest of southeast Michigan) is in a rough spot economically. Your opinion seems to be that the response from the residents and government of this area to this economic situation should be "Oh, the jobs are gone, guess we should just give up". Does the KWA guarantee that 10 years from now eastern Michigan will be a towering powerhouse of industry? Of course not. But to sit and watch your community die, while doing nothing, is not an option.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Facts: Was the plant designed right?

    No, in the sense that there was no additional corrosion control system(s) added before the changeover. This is the result of Mike Prysby, engineer from the MDEQ (who I believe is a PE, but not 100% sure on that) recommending that no additional corrosion control was necessary, because he (willfully or otherwise) misinterpreted the law requiring corrosion control.


    Hard to say if it was designed correctly. No plans have been published. However, it is known that the water treatment plant was built over 50 years ago which would make it questionable that it was designed correctly. There has been some modifications to the water treatment plant recently. The same water treatment plant is also supposed to treat water from the KWA project which would require a different treatment scheme.

    Did a person operate it correctly?

    This is a gray area... To me it seems that Glasgow was put in a very difficult situation. He was apparently under great pressure to make the Flint plant ready to pump water, but was not given the resources required to do so, both in staff and equipment. The chain of emails seems to make it clear that Glasgow was aware the plant was not ready, and the decision to switch to the Flint plant full time as early as they did was one that he disagreed with. It's not clear to me if he could have refused to turn the valve and forced everyone to listen to him. If he did actually have that power, than he succumbed to political pressure in allowing the plant to operate full time, and bears more responsibility than I'm giving him here.


    The person with the water treatment operator license (Mr. Glasgow) had little experience operating such a facility. He did not operate the plant correctly as shown by the water operating reports. He has been criminally charged with willful neglect of duty for allegedly filing false reports to the State about water quality.


    Did a super government agency become involved?

    Does the MDEQ count? If so, than yes. The MDEQ was involved every step of the way, from the planning stages on.


    The City of Flint was required to obtain permits to operate from the MDEQ and submit operating reports to the MDEQ. One employee of MDEQ was charged with misconduct for his alleged authorizing of the operating permit for the Flint water treatment plant. However, the MDEQ Director is the person whose name is on the permits.

    If anything, industrial water usage per product dollar is on the rise.

    Water conservation is the rage at the present time, not water usage.

    The existence of the KWA breaks a monopoly- previously held by the DWSD/GLWA.

    Flint is just switching monopolies, not getting out from one.

    Regarding jobs in Michigan, that ship has already sailed. The jobs are not coming back. Most people fail to realize that when businesses are relocated, the relocated business are generally automated with new equipment. When business are relocated, fewer jobs are created at the new locations.

    'Fraid not. Is Michigan going to be 'the' hub of automotive manufacturing that it once was? Doubtful. But the state is slowly recovering. You don't live or work here, stick to talking about what you know about.


    You sound like you have never traveled outside of Michigan. The loss of factory jobs has affected the entire US, not just Flint. There are not enough factory jobs in the entire United States. Don't you recall Ross Perot's giant sucking sound regarding the potential loss of jobs as a result of trade agreements? Automation also significantly reduced the number of jobs. Flint is competing against some other areas of the country who are able and willing to provide more amenities for businesses (better educated workforce, relocation benefits, tax cuts, etc.) for a smaller number of jobs. To expect jobs to return to the Flint area when there is such a competition for the available jobs is wishful thinking. And don't forget that the employers now want to pay less than they did in the past.



    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Water conservation is the rage at the present time, not water usage.

    You're right. Manufacturers care much more about responsible water usage than they used to, and that's a good thing. The primary difference at automotive plants in particular is the processing and re-use of water. paint shops especially used to capture millions and millions of washdown water alone every year, and pay third parties to process and reclaim that water. Now they do it themselves on-site, and put that water back into a closed loop system.

    In other words, they still use a LOT of water. Acting like adding a cost-effective source of raw water to an area that already has a reasonably large industrial work force in place, cheap real estate, and friendly political attitudes toward industry doesn't improve the outlook is a pretty ridiculous stance to take.

    Flint is just switching monopolies, not getting out from one.

    KWA and GLWA are now direct competitors in supplying water to Flint. That's not a monopoly. The pipeline between DWSD and Imlay City does not cease to exist once the KWA starts pumping, and it will still be in service indefinitely.. When the Flint-KWA contract is up, I would bet the farm that DWSD will be trying to get that business back.

    You sound like you have never traveled outside of Michigan. The loss of factory jobs has affected the entire US, not just Flint. There are not enough factory jobs in the entire United States. Don't you recall Ross Perot's giant sucking sound regarding the potential loss of jobs as a result of trade agreements? Automation also significantly reduced the number of jobs. Flint is competing against some other areas of the country who are able and willing to provide more amenities for businesses (better educated workforce, relocation benefits, tax cuts, etc.) for a smaller number of jobs. To expect jobs to return to the Flint area when there is such a competition for the available jobs is wishful thinking. And don't forget that the employers now want to pay less than they did in the past.

    Your patronizing tone is getting old.

    I've lived and worked all over this country. But we're not talking about me, and we're not talking about this entire country. We're talking about southeast Michigan. Your economic plan of action for the area seems to be that they should just roll over and die. The residents and politicians of Genesee, Sanilac, and Lapeer counties can't do a whole heck of a lot about the economic state of the whole country- but what they have to do is attempt to make the area attractive to new business. That's what they're doing.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    KWA and GLWA are now direct competitors in supplying water to Flint. That's not a monopoly. The pipeline between DWSD and Imlay City does not cease to exist once the KWA starts pumping, and it will still be in service indefinitely. When the Flint-KWA contract is up, I would bet the farm that DWSD will be trying to get that business back.

    If KWA and GLWA were competitors, it would have made sense to purchase half the water from each. It seems that Flint's EM purchased 60% more water than needed from KWA in a take it or pay contract. So Flint will be not be buying water from anybody else. And Flint will be paying for water that they can not use. The 2013 water reliability study estimated water usage at 11 million gallons per day, yet the EM purchased 18 million gallons per day.

    Flint has a 30-year Contract with KWA, so it probably would not be a good idea to bet your farm. The 72-Inch GLWA pipeline will be mothballed. What happens when an asset sits idle? It will be decrepit by the the time the Contract is over.

    http://www.metrotimes.com/Blogs/archives/2016/02/2...

    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/snyder/Rowe_2013...

    Acting like adding a cost-effective source of raw water to an area that already has a reasonably large industrial work force in place, cheap real estate, and friendly political attitudes toward industry doesn't improve the outlook is a pretty ridiculous stance to take.

    If you did a little research, you will find data on economic development such as:

    "Our biggest takeaway: there is virtually no association between economic development incentives and any measure of economic performance. We found no statistically significant association between economic development incentives per capita and average wages or incomes; none between incentives and college grads or knowledge workers; and none between incentives and the state unemployment rate. The scatter-graph above illustrates the lack of any relationship between incentives per capita and wages."

    http://www.citylab.com/work/2012/12/uselessness-ec...


    Your patronizing tone is getting old.

    I've lived and worked all over this country. But we're not talking about me, and we're not talking about this entire country. We're talking about southeast Michigan. Your economic plan of action for the area seems to be that they should just roll over and die. The residents and politicians of Genesee, Sanilac, and Lapeer counties can't do a whole heck of a lot about the economic state of the whole country- but what they have to do is attempt to make the area attractive to new business. That's what they're doing.


    Wake up and smell the coffee. The next state over, Indiana, has similar problems. The point that was made was that SE Michigan is not unique in the economic problems that face.

    http://www.incap.org/iiwf/2015-Status/2015-Status-...

    This report indicates that the policies promoted by Governor Snyder and his clones throughout the United States are not working.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "This report indicates that the policies promoted by Governor Snyder and his clones throughout the United States are not working."

    This seems a little over the top. The term 'throughout' tends to imply it is a federal policy issue, and not a state policy issue.
    I'm trying here to not be too political.

    The truth is, where high tech is associated the economy is good, but still there is a large population of homeless in the same places. The fact that the homeless are there say they don't have the skill set for the present economy.
    So if you look at the homeless in your location, and try to determine what type of jobs they can do. What would you hire these people to do at $15 an hour?

    The good news is there is a job opening for a water supervisor, and regulatory manager, and both of these pay very well.
    There is also a shortage of engineers.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    If KWA and GLWA were competitors, it would have made sense to purchase half the water from each. It seems that Flint's EM purchased 60% more water than needed from KWA in a take it or pay contract. So Flint will be not be buying water from anybody else. And Flint will be paying for water that they can not use. The 2013 water reliability study estimated water usage at 11 million gallons per day, yet the EM purchased 18 million gallons per day.

    11 million gallons per day is the mean usage rate. The peak usage rate is between 14 and 16 MGD, depending on which report you trust.

    Flint has a 30-year Contract with KWA, so it probably would not be a good idea to bet your farm. The 72-Inch GLWA pipeline will be mothballed. What happens when an asset sits idle? It will be decrepit by the the time the Contract is over.

    Incorrect. The 72-inch GLWA supply will continue to operate at minimum until 2046. Almont (30 year contract began July 1 '15) Imlay City (30 year contract takes effect June 2016) and Lapeer (30 year contract proposed and pending) are all fed by the 72-inch line from the Imlay pumping station. There are also multiple municipalities to the west of Flint (Swartz Creek, Owosso, many others) who will continue to receive their water from that 72 inch main. Meaning that the GLWA line running through Flint will not be taken out of service.

    If you did a little research, you will find data on economic development such as:

    "Our biggest takeaway: there is virtually no association between economic development incentives and any measure of economic performance. We found no statistically significant association between economic development incentives per capita and average wages or incomes; none between incentives and college grads or knowledge workers; and none between incentives and the state unemployment rate. The scatter-graph above illustrates the lack of any relationship between incentives per capita and wages."


    If you read all of the articles you linked to completion, instead of just stopping when you found something you liked, you would have found this, from the same article:

    "companies typically select locations based on factors such as workforce, proximity to markets, and access to qualified suppliers"

    Sound familiar? Like what I just said? I guess you're not the only one who can quote out of context to support an argument.


    Wake up and smell the coffee. The next state over, Indiana, has similar problems. The point that was made was that SE Michigan is not unique in the economic problems that face.


    I know what you were trying to say. My response is the same. This thread isn't about Indiana. It's about southeast Michigan. Doing nothing in response to a declining economy is not an option.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    This started with the City of Flint's desire to switch water source, in 2006/2007
    Flint city council, and mayor approved the change in March 25, 2013. (7 to 1)
    Then the Flint Water department did not know how to treat the Flint River water (they only had been treating water from Detroit that was already treated) and how to test the water.
    Michigan Department of Environmental Quality made errors in evaluating the cities test results and recommendations to Flint.
    Synder made mistakes trusting the MDEQ staff
    EPA made mistakes 6-8 months of waiting on recommendation to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality when they knew there was a lead problem.

    There is enough blame for everyone involved.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    11 million gallons per day is the mean usage rate. The peak usage rate is between 14 and 16 MGD, depending on which report you trust.

    The Contract is shown. This is a take or pay contract. That means you buy 18 million gallons every day whether you use or don't use it. You do not pay for what you use, you pay for 18 million gallons every day.

    11 million gallons per day is the mean usage rate over a year. Some days are higher and some lower.

    Incorrect. The 72-inch GLWA supply will continue to operate at minimum until 2046. Almont (30 year contract began July 1 '15) Imlay City (30 year contract takes effect June 2016) and Lapeer (30 year contract proposed and pending) are all fed by the 72-inch line from the Imlay pumping station. There are also multiple municipalities to the west of Flint (Swartz Creek, Owosso, many others) who will continue to receive their water from that 72 inch main. Meaning that the GLWA line running through Flint will not be taken out of service.


    The velocity must be maintained in the 72-Inch water pipeline. Otherwise, the disinfectant residual will be used up. When water is stagnant, you run into water quality problems such as stale water. You will also have pumping problems as the pumps are probably designed to operate at a higher rate. It will be difficult to operate the pipeline at low volume. Sediment will also drop out at low velocities. The authority will probably cancel the contract as it is not economical to operate in that manner.

    If you read all of the articles you linked to completion, instead of just stopping when you found something you liked, you would have found this, from the same article:

    "companies typically select locations based on factors such as workforce, proximity to markets, and access to qualified suppliers"

    Sound familiar? Like what I just said? I guess you're not the only one who can quote out of context to support an argument.


    There you go again, quoting of context. You left the first sentence out of the paragraph:

    "The bigger issue is that incentives do little to alter the locational calculus of most companies. The broad body of evidence on incentives, including the Times series, finds that incentives do not actually cause companies to choose certain locations over others. Rather, companies typically select locations based on factors such as workforce, proximity to markets, and access to qualified suppliers, and then pit jurisdictions against one another to extract tax benefits and other incentives."

    It is important to be able to discern the difference between a belief, a fact and an opinion.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    This started with the City of Flint's desire to switch water source, in 2006/2007
    Flint city council, and mayor approved the change in March 25, 2013. (7 to 1)


    Actually, the Emergency Manager Ed Kurtz who was appointed by Snyder was the one who made the decision. Snyder and the Legislature also put austerity budgeting restraints on the City of Flint.

    Then the Flint Water department did not know how to treat the Flint River water (they only had been treating water from Detroit that was already treated) and how to test the water.
    Michigan Department of Environmental Quality made errors in evaluating the cities test results and recommendations to Flint.


    The permit to change water supplies was written by, approved by, and signed off by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant also appointed by Snyder. The MDEQ also approved the Flint Water Treatment Operator.

    Snyder made mistakes trusting the MDEQ staff EPA made mistakes 6-8 months of waiting on recommendation to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality when they knew there was a lead problem.

    The water supply switch was made in April 2014 and continued until October 2015. Darnell Earley another Emergency Manager appointed by Snyder refused to switch the water supply back to Detroit, despite being approached by Detroit and Detroit waiving the reconnection fee. His successor, Jerry Ambrose, another Emergency Manager appointed by Snyder refused on January 29, 2015 to switch the water source back to Detroit, despite a request from the Flint City Council.

    Snyder was aware of the problem and like Nero, did nothing. The MDEQ argued with and mislead the EPA.


    There is enough blame for everyone involved.


    Yes, but there were some like Snyder who was involved in all of the major decisions and appointed the other people who had major roles.

    January 2016. Snyder accepts responsibility. What a difference a year makes. Last year, Snyder was talking about a presidential run with the Michigan "Miracle". Now people pity the fool.

    http://www.freep.com/pages/interactives/flint-wate...
    http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2015/10/...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The velocity must be maintained in the 72-Inch water pipeline. Otherwise, the disinfectant residual will be used up. When water is stagnant, you run into water quality problems such as stale water. You will also have pumping problems as the pumps are probably designed to operate at a higher rate. It will be difficult to operate the pipeline at low volume. Sediment will also drop out at low velocities. The authority will probably cancel the contract as it is not economical to operate in that manner.

    That's all well and good.

    The fact remains, the 72-inch main is not going out of service.

    There you go again, quoting of context.


    So.. did you read the post that you called me out on for quoting out of context? Because it contains this: "I guess you're not the only one who can quote out of context to support an argument"

    Hint: I know I'm quoting out of context. That's the difference between us.

    You keep making an argument against economic incentives, a topic I never brought up.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "Why would it be appropriate for a several-hundred-million-dollar pipeline to be developed in a region swimming in (water) capacity and populated by two financially distressed cities?" said task force member Eric Rothstein, referring to the available Detroit water system that had supplied Flint for almost 50 years. "It all gives me a tremendously uneasy feeling."

    http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20160509/NEWS...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "Why would it be appropriate for a several-hundred-million-dollar pipeline to be developed in a region swimming in (water) capacity and populated by two financially distressed cities?" said task force member Eric Rothstein, referring to the available Detroit water system that had supplied Flint for almost 50 years. "It all gives me a tremendously uneasy feeling."

    This has been covered ad nauseum.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Did you also cover the "sweetheart" bond issue?

    "The City of Flint's financial condition was so dire in 2014 that it threatened the ability of the Karegnondi Water Authority to issue bonds and start construction on a new pipeline to Lake Huron. But the project was rescued through what was described as a "sweetheart" state environmental order pushed by KWA bond attorneys, records show."

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/fli...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    What are you trying to say, that the City needed to do some political maneuvering to get the bonds issued?

    So... why would that be a surprise?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Did you see where the state is going to pay the water bills for the residents of Flint for the next month or so as they are encouraging people to run all their taps for as long as 15 minutes or so each day in an attempt to flush out any remaining lead from the system as the city tries to get back to where the water is no longer leaching lead from the older pipes still in the network.

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Is there a link stating that? Haven't heard that and a quick search doesn't bring anything up.

    If that is actually a valid strategy to mitigate lead exposure to the residents, it seems like a reasonable action to take.

    In other news, Glasgow accepted a plea deal to the misdemeanor charge of neglect of duty with the felony tampering charge dismissed:

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/fli...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I should have posted a link to substantiate my comment but I had heard it from a news item while driving and posted the item above when I got home but failed to do a search first.

    Anyway, I've did a search just now and here's an item that confirms what I heard on the radio:

    http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2016/05/...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    What a surprise, you're cherry picking from your links to suit your argument.

    Re-read your link, and take note of the part about how this did not include any analysis of the effect the KWA will have on the system.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Posting the title of an article is cherry picking? You have to have a better argument than that. The same discussion is in a second news source.

    How about this quote (which includes discussion of the KWA water):

    "The estimates highlight continued concern over Flint water rates despite the city’s expected switch to the Karegnondi Water Authority, which it joined with state approval in hopes of gaining more control over long-term costs."

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/fli...

    State's interest in pushing KWA project needs explanation:

    http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/nanc...

    The State's role in the DWSD, the Detroit Bankruptcy and pressure from the wealthy counties to convert DWSD into a regional authority using Flint's withdrawal to financially break it was a killer and that rests on Snyder.

    Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying “The government you elect is government you deserve.” Paraphrased, as a Michigan resident you will be paying for most of the cost of the corruption and screw-ups through increased taxes.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Yes, it's cherry picking because the headline is ambiguous, and doesn't relate the entire story.

    The point of the article is that Flint needs to upgrade city infrastructure, which is a problem regardless of water source.

    Some direct quotes:

    "Khouri said leaders will need to find ways to reduce operating costs, find low- to no-cost financing for infrastructure upgrades and find a cost-effective source of water moving forward to curb the cost increases"

    "The study included cost comparisons to other municipal water systems. The comparison showed that Flint residents are often required to pay to maintain more infrastructure and water loss than customers on other municipal systems"

    "Only 50 to 60 percent of the water purchased by Flint is actually billed to the customers for use. The other systems included in the study had billing rates closer to 90 percent.

    Unbilled water includes those resources used in processes such as hydrant flushing. It also includes water loss from leakage and theft."

    "He added that Flint also transfers more money from its water fund – roughly 17 percent – to other city funds than other municipal systems. The average municipal system only transfers about 7 percent"

    "The task force is expected to present an evaluation of water source of backup options for the city, including a study of the Karegnondi Water Authority and the Great Lakes Water Authority. No timetable has been set for that presentation. "

    The KWA is the potential cost-effective source for water. The infrastructure upgrades and their effect on water bills have NOTHING to do with the KWA.

    You certainly know enough to know that. Which means you're being obtuse about trashing the KWA, or you're not fully reading and comprehending the articles you link. It's one of the two.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Yes, it's cherry picking because the headline is ambiguous, and doesn't relate the entire story.

    The report is not published and some preliminary comments were made, so you are responding to the notes from reporters. Better to wait for the facts to be presented before making comments.

    The KWA is the potential cost-effective source for water. The infrastructure upgrades and their effect on water bills have NOTHING to do with the KWA.


    Except for the fact that Flint only needs an average of 9 MGD of water (99,000 people x 90 gal per capita per day), yet the EM bought 18 MGD from the KWA in a take-or-pay contract.

    find low- to no-cost financing for infrastructure upgrades

    Most states are offering 1% loans with principle forgiveness as well for water projects through the Environmental State Revolving Funds. Yet KWA is charging full price for the project capital costs plus 5% for the bonds.

    That doesn't sound like best deal for the customers of the KWA.

    Unbilled water includes those resources used in processes such as hydrant flushing. It also includes water loss from leakage and theft."


    It would be unusual for a state agency like the MDEQ to approve a project (like the KWA project) with such leakage. In Illinois, the IEPA will not approve a withdrawal from Lake Michigan unless the unaccounted water was less than 8%.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The report is not published and some preliminary comments were made, so you are responding to the notes from reporters. Better to wait for the facts to be presented before making comments.

    So maybe you shouldn't have linked the article? It's great how the ambiguous headline is a point of argument for you until I call you out, and then it suddenly becomes meaningless without further information.

    Except for the fact that Flint only needs an average of 9 MGD of water (99,000 people x 90 gal per capita per day), yet the EM bought 18 MGD from the KWA in a take-or-pay contract.

    Which.... still has nothing to do with upgrades that are necessary to infrastructure that is wholly within and wholly owned by the City of Flint.

    Most states are offering 1% loans with principle forgiveness as well for water projects through the Environmental State Revolving Funds. Yet KWA is charging full price for the project capital costs plus 5% for the bonds.

    That doesn't sound like best deal for the customers of the KWA.


    Flint's KWA share well exceeded the single-project grant cap for the CWSRF (and all of the various other similar funds) for 2014. Borrowing from the revolving fund was not an option.

    It would be unusual for a state agency like the MDEQ to approve a project (like the KWA project) with such leakage. In Illinois, the IEPA will not approve a withdrawal from Lake Michigan unless the unaccounted water was less than 8%.

    The quoted leakage rate is for infrastructure within the City of Flint, not for the KWA project. Seriously... they're separate issues. You can't push one set of problems on the other.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Flint like many other cities, likely does not make any money from there water system, and likely needs the money to fix the leaks it has. But the public perception is that they have a big pot of money they can just spread around. The reality is they need to tightly manage this utility, and few political players can do that, and the people that can rarely get any credit for there hard work.

    Another thing I see, at least in my city, is the street department is so in need for money that they keep increasing the street cut fees from the water utility, which does not help the pipe replacement projects.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Another thing I see, at least in my city, is the street department is so in need for money that they keep increasing the street cut fees from the water utility, which does not help the pipe replacement projects.

    That is a big part of the problem- Flint diverts ~17% of water revenue to other departments. The national average is about 10% lower, per the MI state treasury's figures.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    It would be unusual for a state agency like the MDEQ to approve a project (like the KWA project) with such leakage. In Illinois, the IEPA will not approve a withdrawal from Lake Michigan unless the unaccounted water was less than 8%.

    The quoted leakage rate is for infrastructure within the City of Flint, not for the KWA project. Seriously... they're separate issues. You can't push one set of problems on the other.

    How about an example so that you may understand. The state MDEQ equivalent will review the leakage (unaccounted water) for a City and will not approve a wasteful water withdrawal from a water resource unless the City improves the infrastructure. You are correct that this has nothing to do with the KWA except that the KWA project would not have been permitted because there is too much water waste.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    It would be unusual for a state agency like the MDEQ to approve a project (like the KWA project) with such leakage. In Illinois, the IEPA will not approve a withdrawal from Lake Michigan unless the unaccounted water was less than 8%.

    Uh.. again, the quoted leakage rate is NOT for the KWA. Period. Flint's leakage rate was/is not a factor in the KWA's approval to move forward.

    The building or not building of the KWA pipeline was not contingent on Flint signing on as a customer. They adjusted the size of the pipeline to accommodate the additional demand from COF, but the pipeline would have been constructed either way. So, again- the efficiency of Flint's infrastructure is immaterial to the KWA's existence.

    The KWA is pumping from Lake Huron. DWSD pumps its water from... you guessed it... Lake Huron. Flint isn't going to be wasting any more Lake Huron water, if the KWA switch is completed, than it was before. I doubt this fact was lost on the MDEQ.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    If AGW had not caused this problem, we would not be discussing it.

    What is an acceptable leak rate for treated water? For waste water? I guess fixing leaks is not low hanging fruit, and why it was not addressed first.
    Most political types would not work on such a non-gloryful projects like fixing leaks, or bridges, or pot-holes, or homelessness, or jobs, etc.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Likely not at all, but just wait and someone will make a link and report it as news, like they did with Sandy.

    My point is the bias in the reporting of Flint, and AGW is so astounding that you can't believe even half of what's being published, printed, or reported.

    Many of the posts seemed almost like indictments of one political party or another, and not the people who may have been the cause.

    Corruption in politics, or science, or anything involving money is not limited political parties, race, gender, or many other factors. It is people making bad choices in a greedy grab for money, power, and fame.

    ...

    Maybe there is a greedy grab in the reporting of corruption in an effort for money, power and fame?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Just read the book "The Blue Death". It is about the epidemiology of water borne diseases, but did talk about our piping system. He estimated the leak rate at 33% nationwide. It was at 40% in pre-Katrina New Orleans.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "If something does not make sense, there is money behind it"

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Just read the book "The Blue Death". It is about the epidemiology of water borne diseases, but did talk about our piping system. He estimated the leak rate at 33% nationwide. It was at 40% in pre-Katrina New Orleans. The figure of 33% is on the high side.

    "In a 2001 survey of 28 regulatory agencies representing 23 states and 3 regional authorities, all reported the use of some type of standard or benchmark for water losses. Pme fact that emerged was that there is a lack of clear consensus on reporting standards. Anther finding was that "unaccounted-for" water loss standards ranged from 7.5 to 20%. The water loss percentages mostly referred to production water losses (Beecher, 2002)."

    http://www.agingwaterinfrastructure.org/SiteResour...


    Corruption in politics, or science, or anything involving money is not limited political parties, race, gender, or many other factors. It is people making bad choices in a greedy grab for money, power, and fame.

    Cranky, you are giving these folks in Michigan too much credit. It is not corruption, it is just plain ignorance. See the news clip of the former Flint Mayor who supposedly was a Rhodes scholar, admitting to taking campaign donations from the constructors of the KWA pipeline.

    http://www.wxyz.com/news/flint-water-crisis-the-st...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    IRstuff

    who could have possibly thought there would be subject besides AGW that would generate over 200 posts...bugeyed


    Your acronym is incorrect. One should be using the acronym AWG instead of AGW.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The posts that generate more comments than AGW are the subjects that are contrary to the AWG thinking. For example, when it comes to climate change denial, not all human beings are created equal. Recent studies have shown that AWG's are less likely to believe in climate change than any other group.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I suspect the 4th from the bottom, which is probably accurate as well as telling.

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Same news outlet but more details on how Mr. Glasgow intentionally took water samples from newer areas of the City that did not have lead service pipes to show that lead was not present.

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/02/fli...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Much depends on whether or not U of M's lead line map was known or available to the people planning testing locations.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I guess one could make a study of why or how the locations for testing are chosen. But unless there was influence for the purpose to be deceitful, I would not go there. And just maybe Mr. Glasgow was joking because he saw the flaw in the sites picked.

    I would tend to think that some of this was bad luck, and not that the water company knew it had hired a evil super villain.

    Then again, maybe the sites did not matter as samples can be switched in the lab. Who was running the lab?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The installation of lead pipes ended around 1920. Knowing this, it would be very simple to avoid areas of the City that were built prior to 1920.

    Glasgow admitted to selective sampling:

    "The arrest warrant for Glasgow states that he admitted submitting information that falsely showed all of the water samples were taken from locations with lead service lines."

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The consultant’s evaluation of the Flint plant paints a picture of an unorganized facility charged with ensuring 100,000 residents have clean water, saying Flint’s municipal water treatment plant staff were “unprepared and ill-equipped” to treat Flint River when the city left Detroit’s system.

    “As one would expect with a staff that has limited experience with surface water treatment, there is an apparent lack of understanding of water treatment concepts and how those concepts can apply to controlling treatment processes in ways that ensure high quality finished water,” the consultants wrote.

    The firm found Flint’s water plant has no inventory of its equipment or documentation detailing how old it is and what it would cost to replace the water treatment equipment.

    “There is no inventory of critical spare parts, and purchasing policy has limited the acquisition of an appropriate inventory of parts,” the consultants wrote in their report. “There is no formal work order program to prioritize, track, and evaluate the effectiveness of maintenance tasks.”

    Water plant staff described Flint’s purchasing policy as “cumbersome” and “lengthy,” the consultants said.

    The EPA’s consultants also expressed concern the Flint water plant has far too few employees.

    “Staffing is inadequate for water treatment plant maintenance needs, and additional staff are also required for maintenance of facilities that are not essential for water quality,” the consulting firm wrote in its report.

    No engineering failure was reported.

    For the "water experts" that have made multiple posts on the forum, see if you can make time in your schedule for a trip to the AWWA conference this coming week. It is just 4 hours from Genesee County, Michigan:

    http://www.awwa.org/conferences-education/conferen...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    bimr I had an error opening your attachment

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    From ENR:

    To make Flint water crisis criminal charges stick against two licensed engineers employed by the state, Michigan’s attorney general will need to prove two things about Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby: that they made deliberate attempts to deceive the public about the lead levels in the city’s water and that they covered up or tried to cover up their deceptions or mistakes.

    A third matter could prove just as important: that Busch and Prysby are the actual ones who directed and committed or covered up the alleged crimes.

    Charged last April with felonies and misdemeanors in state court in Flint, Busch and Prysby face substantial prison sentences and fines.


    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Probably none of these charges will stick. However, the charges will financially ruin those charged.

    The AG is a career politician ambitious to be the governor. Attacking employees from a government agency agrees with his politics. In a May memo obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the AG (Schuette) asked for $10.28 million in funding for Flint water crisis legal costs.

    "SCHUETTE, WILLIAM D (BILL) has run in 3 races for public office, winning 3 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $6,216,866."

    http://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=2...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Too bad that Lansing wasn't willing to spend money like that actually addressing the problem when it first became apparent...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    It'll be interesting to compare the sentencing (if any) at the conclusion of the legal process. Compare it to the Canadian Walkerton water tragedy (seven people died), where the sentences maxed out at one year in jail.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    It will be interesting to see how high the prosecutions go... not just the workers 'thrown under the bus'.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Unless it reaches Lansing, it won't be high enough...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Flint's financial crisis was largely state-made: From 2006 — the last year Flint ran a budget surplus — to the 2012 fiscal year, when it was placed under state receivership, state revenue sharing to Flint fell 61%, from $20 million to $7.9 million.

    At every turn of the Flint story, there is an intersection between engineering and politics involving the MDEQ, the City of Flint and KWA, and John C. O’Malia.

    http://www.greatlakeslaw.org/blog/2016/07/the-flin...

    http://www.greatlakeslaw.org/Flint/Hammer_Flint_MC...

    https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.mi-water.org/resourc...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    In the article below, it's the first time that I've heard that part of the problem in Flint may have been that at least part of the responsibility to maintain safe drinking water was outsourced to a French company named 'Veolia'. Has anyone mentioned that in any of the items posted in this thread? The article below explains how people in Pittsburgh may also have problem with elevated levels of lead in their drinking water and it appears that this company, 'Veolia', may be partially to blame, and that they were also involved in the Flint disaster.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pittsburgh-lea...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    You can follow the link in that article to : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rafael-salazar/the-f...

    According to THP, Veolia was merely responsible for papering over the problem, but doesn't seem to have been involved with the actual water treatment, unlike elsewhere.

    TTFN (ta ta for now)
    I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
    FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The AG filed a lawsuit against Veolia before even talking to Veolia. Veolia is really a minor player in this fiasco arriving late to the event and having a limited role. Just part of the AG'a legal strategy to try to pull in "deep pockets".

    "Veolia was hired in February 2015 to address concerns about Flint's drinking water,but did not identify lead contamination as an issue.

    By January 2015, complaints about the city's drinking water were reaching a fevered pitch - especially after residents were notified the water violated the federal standards because of high levels of triahalomethanes, a carcinogen.

    Veolia was hired in February 2015, and spent 160 hours studying the Flint water system. The firm issued more than 20 recommendations in March to improve water quality.

    However, the consultants did not identify the potential of lead contamination. Moreover, according to Schuette, they recommended the addition of acid to Flint's water system, which further worsened the issue of leaching lead.

    "Veolia made a bad situation worse," Schuette said.

    Veolia was paid $900 an hour for the expedited study, which cost a total of about $40,000."

    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/06/flint_...

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/22/mi...

    This will be one of those project where the legal fees greatly exceed the project costs.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "...spent 160 hours.." X "...$900 an hour..." = "...a total of about $40,000."

    Did Flint accelerate it's common core implementation? ponder

    gbangs
    TC 8.3.3
    NX 8.5.3.3 MP11

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I guess it's a start...

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Look for some news in the Flint water crisis soon, but I wouldn't hold my breath thinking that it's going to result in anything positive being said or done:

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/201...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    AWWA paper discussing the water treatment plant operations. The title of the paper is "What Happened and Why", but the paper focuses more on what happened, not why.

    One can look at the graphs and see that over the operating time, the pH of the treated water gradually decreased, which then caused the corrosion and the corrosion products to gradually increase. The paper does not state why the water treatment staff decided to decrease the pH.

    The paper also offers that adding the corrosion inhibitor probably would not work because the pH was so low.

    The paper states that the water is difficult to treat. However, licensed water professionals operate similar water treatment plants treating water like this all over the world without the problems that occurred at Flint. Flint had also operated the water treatment for over a decade without problems.

    The operation of the Flint water treatment plant would be a good topic for a case study on organization behavior.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "Four officials in charge of Flint's water, including two who reported directly to Governor Rick Snyder, have been named in the fourth round of charges announced by the Michigan attorney general's office as it investigates the city's water crisis.

    Two of Flint's former emergency managers and two water plant officials were charged Tuesday for felonies of false pretenses and conspiracy -- the allegations are that they misled the Michigan Department of Treasury into getting millions in bonds, and then misused the money to finance the construction of a new pipeline and force Flint's drinking water source to be switched to the Flint River."

    "But Earley and Ambrose couldn't get a bond for Flint to buy in to the new KWA pipeline, because the city had no credit rating and was $13 million in debt.

    So they used a loophole -- a clause reserved for dealing with "fire, flood, or other calamity," to borrow tens of millions to pay for the KWA.
    They masked the request as being for the clean-up of a troublesome lagoon of lime sludge (a by-product of water treatment). But the money went to the KWA -- which would not have been able to move forward without Flint's portion of the money."

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/20/health/flint-water-c...

    The next step may be an indictment of the Governor.

    In an interview, Croft said that the decision to use the river was a financial one, with a review that “went up through the state.”

    “All the way to the governor’s office?” the ACLU of Michigan asked him. “All the way to the governor’s office,” Croft replied.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    According to the BBC, only the two lesser employees were charged with felonies.

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Most sources are reporting:

    All four defendants face felony charges of false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses. In addition, Earley and Ambrose were also charged with willful neglect of duty and misconduct in office.

    Misdemeanors don't have these type of prison sentences:

    Former Emergency Managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose were each charged with two felonies that carry penalties of up to 20 years — false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses — along with misconduct in office, also a felony, and willful neglect of duty in office, a misdemeanor.

    Howard Croft, who was Flint's director of the Department of Public Works, and Daugherty Johnson, who was the department's utilities director, were each charged with false pretenses and conspiracy to commit false pretenses. Earley and Ambrose each face a total of up to 46 years in prison. Croft and Johnson each face a total of up to 40 years in prison.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    bimr:
    Thanks for the added info...

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Interesting comments:

    Schuette's office OK'd Flint order in alleged tainted-water crimes

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/fli...

    "Schuette alleges the "sham" administrative consent order, which one of his (Schuette's) assistants signed off on, also had the effect of forcing Flint to get its drinking water from the Flint River — with disastrous results — until the KWA project was completed."

    ""A more basic question is why did (the Michigan Department of) Treasury approve the KWA project when it knew that Flint would be unable to finance it?" Hammer asked.

    Another apparent conflict is the Treasury Department giving Flint the OK to leave the Detroit water system for the KWA, when both Flint and Detroit were under state-appointed emergency managers and it hurt Detroit financially to lose Flint as a major customer for its water."

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    From the AP, "More than 1,700 Flint-area residents and property owners are seeking more than US$700 million in damages from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its handling of the city's crisis with lead-tainted water.

    The Detroit News and The Flint Journal report the agency didn't respond to an administrative claim filed last year, clearing the way for Monday's lawsuit in U.S. District Court."

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    ...and, "Negligence arises when one person owes to another a duty of care and breaches that duty, and reasonably foreseeable harm arises as a result of that breach."

    We'll see how the legal guys sort this out...

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    https://drive.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http:...

    The Federal Tort Claims Act (June 25, 1946, ch. 646, Title IV, 60 Stat. 812, "28 U.S.C. Pt.VI Ch.171" and 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)) ("FTCA") is a 1946 federal statute that permits private parties to sue the United States in a federal court for most torts committed by persons acting on behalf of the United States.

    Instead of suing the United States for torts committed by persons acting on behalf of the United States., it appears that the lawsuit is suing for torts committed by the agency (EPA). Are agencies considered to be people too?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The faces of Flint:



    Siblings Julie, Antonio, and India Abram collect their daily allowance of bottled water from Fire Station #3. Located on Martin Luther King Avenue, it's one of five firehouses that have become water resource sites in Flint, Michigan.

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    At least something good is coming from this fiasco. The kids are getting some exercise. Are they school uniforms? Snazzy.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/160209-...

    Mott Middle College high school, a general education program operated by the Genesee Intermediate School District, opened in 1991 on the campus of Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan, with a grant funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Mott Middle College specializes in overlapping an Associates Degree with a general education high school diploma.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    From CBC News, "Residents of Flint, Mich., continue to suffer the physical and emotional effects of a tainted water crisis, and now there's fresh insult to their injuries: climbing water bills."

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    From the AP, "Michigan and the city of Flint agreed Monday to replace thousands of home water lines under a sweeping deal to settle a lawsuit by residents over lead-contaminated water in the struggling community.

    Flint will replace at least 18,000 lead or galvanized-steel water lines by 2020, and the state will pick up the bill with state and federal money, according to the settlement filed in federal court. It will be presented Tuesday to U.S. District Judge David Lawson for likely approval."

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding "So they'll replace the last 50' of a multi-mile system? Yep, that should solve the problem".

    It should end the lead contamination of the public water supply, but will not have much of an effect on the social justices issues.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    What social justices issues? Can you explain more? Do I need to pay for problems they votes for?



    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Lead is an accumulative toxin and can have long term neurological issues. Maybe a social issue.

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Come on man, few terms have become as unmoored from their Catholic origins, and have thus lent themselves to misunderstanding in contemporary discourse, as has the term “social justice.”

    Social justice assigns rights and duties in the institutions of society, which enables people to receive the basic benefits and burdens of cooperation. The relevant institutions often include taxation, social insurance, public health, public school, public services, labor law and regulation of markets, to ensure fair distribution of wealth, and equal opportunity.

    Don't believe that any of the Flint residents voted for:

    poor schools
    poor government
    poor water quality
    poor opportunities

    Since Texas is a net taker of federal taxes; perhaps one should think about refunding the difference.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-politics/2012...

    On second thought, it appears that Texas has many of the same problems:

    http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/education/20...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Just because the residents did not vote for poor XXXX, they got it because of who they voted for.

    Don't believe the hype, vote them out anyway.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Texas only has great and terrible schools. There really is not a lot in between. The schooling districts play a huge role in determining the real estate valuations because of that. A good school probably adds $30 per sf. I feel bad whenever a zone gets shifted and someone loses significant value off of their house.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Quote (cranky108)

    Just because the residents did not vote for poor XXXX, they got it because of who they voted for.

    Don't believe the hype, vote them out anyway.

    It doesn't quite work that way. The other guy could've just easily given it to them harder.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Texas has problems with at least 3 out of 4 of these issues:

    poor schools
    poor government
    poor water quality
    poor opportunities

    Yet, no one seems to be clamoring to get rid of the TX incumbents.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Comparing the economic environment of Texas as a whole to Flint, MI is a pretty hilariously bad analogy.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Nobody is comparing the economic environment of Texas as a whole to Flint.

    The gentleman from Texas appears to be disparaging the people that live in Michigan, while at the same time overlooking many of the same problems in his own backyard. Afterall, Texas is just another red taker state dependent on the federal government.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Red taker? Like the West coast is a bunch of Blue takers?

    What does the political leanings of a state matter about who is a taker or not?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    They don't, really. Bimr has a very clear political stance, and problems in this particular state appear to indicate to him that it's soapbox time.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    It's not political, it's statistical. That's just the way the numbers come out.

    That being said, it's still ironic that most of the so-called 'taker' states consistently vote Republican and/or have Republican-controlled state houses and legislatures. And you can bet that if these statistics were reversed, that we would be hearing no end of this from the Right-wing media.

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
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    Irvine, CA
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    From that very article:

    Quote:

    Part of the explanation for why southern states dominate the “most dependent” category is historical. During the many decades in the 20th century when the South was solidly Democratic, its congressional representatives in both the House and the Senate, enjoying great seniority, came to hold leadership positions on powerful committees, which they used to send federal dollars back to their home states in the form of contracts, projects, installations.

    So, as usual, it simply isn't that cut-and-dry.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The issue with takers is, that we as voters allow it.

    The truth is the greed in both parties is part of the problem. The special interests is another part.

    Not that I like Bernie, but his approach to funding his election does deserve some good comments. But on the other hand so did Trumps.
    Both approaches did take some special interest money out of the last election.

    As for local elections, it seems strange that a week away from the election, all these TV ads started showing up, with several being very bitter.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    cranky108: Regarding "Like the West coast is a bunch of Blue takers?"

    If you look at the list, note that the West Coast is a Giver, not a Taker. The list outlines the hypocritical methods of the red state politicians. Complain about the federal government while taking the benefits.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    jgKRI: Regarding "So, as usual, it simply isn't that cut-and-dry."

    It is more logical than you suspect. Another part of the equation is that the southern states have refused to fund education. Education is an investment in the people. If you don't invest in the people, you should not expect an economic return either. The lack of education funding leads to the poor economic outlook in the southern states and the high crime rates.

    Now you have politicians like Walker, Snyder, Brownback, and their ilk actively working to defund education and turning their states into the Mississippi's of the north.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/w...

    "Engler whipped the state Legislature into action, and in the course of a 24-hour period, the Senate and House eradicated property taxes—in the process completely defunding Michigan’s $6.5 billion public-education system."

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/bet...

    If understanding what is going on means I have an "agenda", so be it.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    So you are saying the state should invest in education. What would happen if people invested there own money in there children's education, and not expecting the state to do so? Maybe our taxes would go down, and the quality of education would go up.

    After all, they are your children, and why should I be required to pay for their education (cheep *** *******).

    And before you ask, no my child does not go to public school, and I get no rebate on my taxes for that.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    2
    So the children of poor families shouldn't be allowed to attend school then?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Public education has been part of the foundation of our democracy from the very beginning, going back even further than that in fact.

    There are still some expenses which are incurred for the best interest of all of society and turning our backs on their need will only weaken our democracy. This is one of the things that Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr had in mind in 1927 when he stated, in a written opinion, that "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
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    RE: Flint Municipal water

    cranky108

    One can't pick and choose a la carte the parts of the government that one wants to pay for.

    In response, why should I pay for the roads that you drive on, the water that you use and pollute, the military and police department that protect you, etc.

    If you have no government, you will have anarchy.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    There's a Mitchell and Webb skit on youtube titled "kill the poor" that this is reminiscent of...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I wouldn't say public education is a foundation of democracy. I would say a belief in the general ability to change things coupled with a loose understanding of the system. People in the past were much less educated but much more involved and knowledgeable about the system, laws, and policies. I don't know why this is. Some of it is I think is due to the lack communication. In the past, you had taverns which served as meeting centers and I think debates and real discussions happened. Now, people have the internet and likely only traffic forums and websites that line up with their existing beliefs. The system is not at all that complicated. You could explain how laws and the government works to 6 year old without too much trouble. You could educate the public to the gills on civics and still not have a healthy democracy if no believes they have the power to bring change.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I said that education was a "part of the foundation", not all of it.

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    So it seems that many of you agree that government is there to serve the people.

    And some of you believe the government should resolve you of taking part in an important part of your children's lives. That's so sad that you care so little.

    Public education, like many programs for the poor, are there for the poor. And yes they are fund limited, but they are intended for the poor, and not the freeloaders.

    So I should be asking, why you engineers are paid so little.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Why are there no libertarian countries, if libertarianism is such a sound political philosophy?

    There was something close to a small government libertarian utopia in the late 19th century and it didn’t work out. Many Americans would never be able to save enough for retirement and, later, most of them would be unable to afford health insurance when they were old. Smaller government meant that too many people were poor and that monopolies were formed too easily.

    Libertarianism is merely a different name for utopian anarchism and deserves to be ignored. Libertarianism is nothing more than a cult. The anti-government propaganda by plutocrats like the Koch brothers and various self-interested corporations reinforces and radicalizes the susceptible into thinking they are libertarians. This nonsense should play no greater role in public debate than do the followers of Lyndon LaRouche or L. Ron Hubbard.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    4
    So where is the balance point? When is government too big, or too small?

    A government that can require anything from you, can also do anything to you. I agree that a government is necessary, but it needs limits.

    Safety nets are good, if you can accept the bad conditions of public housing. And if you did not pay for your housing, don't complain to me about how bad it is.

    With over 100 years of public schools, why do we still need public housing anyway. Did the schools not teach people to do better?

    People need to do more for themselves and quit being freeloaders. Yes there are people who need help, but with so many freeloading hands out, it's hard to tell the difference.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Flint’s mayor has announced that she recommends that Flint continue getting its drinking water from the Detroit-area system over the long term.

    That probably means that the newer supplier of water (KWA) will be headed for insolvency. Doesn't say how Flint will be able to break their contract with KWA.

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/fli...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Cranky: In a world in which "All men are created equal" (and I guess, if we included woman too), a 100 years of public schools might have accomplished your goal of "teaching people to live better." But if you look about you now, and certainly in the history of the past 100 years, you should be able to quickly dispel yourself of that notion.

    Ignoring the impact of environmental factors like, say, lead poisoning from shabby housing and drinking water; the advantages and disadvantages realized by people are not bestowed upon them at their creation. They are cumulative across generations. A child born into poverty is not created equal. Especially when that poverty results from the accrued affects of institutionalized systemic discrimination, and societal marginalization of certain subsets of the population.

    Teaching is (should be) also done at the home. And there is a lag for that to work out of the system as well (if the system provides for it). That can be pretty tough to do, when you have (if you're lucky) two parents scrapping multiple jobs together, relying on public transportation (at 2-3X the time cost of owning a car), and trying to just keep food on the table... and cable TV I guess. Because we have marketing and advertising subverting the role of the family and working on multiple levels of consciousness at once to create the perfect subsistence "consumer" (stuff more STUFF MORE STUUUUUUFFFFFFFFFF) to keep the wheels of the economy turning.

    The rich get richer. And the poor get, well, poorer. That's the way the system wants it. That's Murphy's Golden Rule.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    In nature, as in much of humanity, all animals are not created equal. That natural selection is in play and will weed out the weak, sick, and disadvantaged.

    In humanity, we tend to support the weak, sick, and disadvantaged, but it is impossible to support them to the same level as the richest people, without them becoming a huge burden on the rest of us.
    So if we are to continue to support the weak, sick, and disadvantaged, we at some point need to decide at what level we should support them.

    The problem is that some people, seeing us support the weak, sick, and disadvantaged, believe they can live at that level, knowing it would require less effort from them, than their full potential.
    If we are to increase that level of support, we will attract more of the freeloaders.

    So where is the point we call the level of support?

    All men are created equal, refers to what should be in the eyes of the government, as far as rights. But not in the outcome of ones life. Unless you are implying all public schools must be the same, and that parents are not to help their children with there learning. or that people are not allowed to pay for a better education than the public schools offer.

    If there is no incentive to improve your lot in life, then we all should be living in public housing, and working at simple minimum wage jobs.

    But back to the question of what is the point we call the level of support? Should we agree to that as a nation, or leave it to the local population to decide, based on factors like weather, population, and economic conditions?

    I likely rambled too much, but what's new there.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    It's not because it is impossible, or too much of a burden on society. Cut the rubbish. May countries with far less GDP do a hell of a better job at it. It is simply because the collective, for one reason or another, does not want to. My guess is that there's not enough money in it for them, or ... they just don't want to. I can't understand how Americans can agree to have legal car, flood, or death insurance (you think they're betting that you'll live) allowed in the USA. "All those freeloading bad drivers out there and this system force ME to pay for THEIR smash ups. Shocking!"

    Don't live in Flint? No worries? Now a nerve gas ... from the Nazis ... is being rolled out. Dow-Pruit have the solution to legal use. Simply discredit the data and change the law.

    Find what you like to do, earn a living at it, and then make your lifestyle fit your income. — Chuck Yeager

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Everybody has an agenda. It's another word for opinion. Opinions are no less valid in a true democracy if they are written down to be brought up for discussion at a later date. Opinions are no less valid, if held by paid, or unpaid, protestors, or supporters. Democracy's responsibility is to find a solution that best serves the needs of all, not to discredit the needs of others, nor discredit the others themselves.

    Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit

    Find what you like to do, earn a living at it, and then make your lifestyle fit your income. — Chuck Yeager

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    FYI, in the US, flood insurance is only sold to the public only by the government. It's government insurance, and it's not very good.

    Maybe it's not that we don't want to, but that we are being told a different story than what is actually happening. Lying B#######.
    And because there is little risk, or punishment for the lying to the public.

    Or here's a thought, we might be paying too much for some of these positions, that maybe less educated people could do a better job (or not).

    Also in other countries, they boil their water before drinking it.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    We have a problem here... the government has allowed the farmers to fill in the potholes (large ponds) and to install sub-surface drains... this increases the peak flow and reduces the time of concentration... flooding of the Red River is nearly an annual occurrence.

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Cranky,
    I am sure you know very well that boiling water does not change its lead content.
    So I assume that the only reason for you to even mention boiling one's water is that you have become quite agitated by the off-topic direction of this thread. It is probably time to return to the original topic and drop the rest, I think.
    I hope you agree.

    STF

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    SparWeb... I think boiling increases the concentration a tad...

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Thanks dik,
    blllttt

    STF

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    My point is people, need and should, do more for themselves, and not expect someone else to look out for their best interest.

    That said, it might be difficult for a person to have any information about their city water source. So a higher level of trust is expected of the water provider. But also, water providers should be sending out reports on the water quality (the corporation that provided the water where I grew up did).

    It is also my position that we don't hold our public officials accountable enough.

    Just a thought, but home lead tests are available, usually in the hardware store next to the radon tests. And maybe more people should be more interested in the water quality in their tap.
    Even if 1% of people were interested enough, this might have been seen sooner.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    My point is people, need and should, do more for themselves, and not expect someone else to look out for their best interest.

    If you assume that everyone is out to get you and everyone is untrustworthy, there will not be enough time in the day to verify everything. Must be hard to live that way. Don't trust the wife, the kid, the dog, the auto repairman, the next driver, the store clerk, the guy in front of me in line, etc.

    That said, it might be difficult for a person to have any information about their city water source. So a higher level of trust is expected of the water provider. But also, water providers should be sending out reports on the water quality (the corporation that provided the water where I grew up did).

    The capitalists that operate the water companies could not be relied upon to provide reports as part of their normal business as it costs money to make reports. The federal government stepped in and made it a requirement.

    It is also my position that we don't hold our public officials accountable enough.

    If you don't trust them, vote against them the next time or run for office. That is the remedy.

    Just a thought, but home lead tests are available, usually in the hardware store next to the radon tests. And maybe more people should be more interested in the water quality in their tap.


    Another assumption on your part that everyone has the capability to read a lead test. The average person on the street doesn't know the difference between a mg/L and an ounce (of beer).

    Even if 1% of people were interested enough, this might have been seen sooner.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    That red highlighting makes your response unreadable...to me.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Yellow would be better...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Hokie66,
    It looks better if you click-drag to select the text. The inversion of the colours makes the red stripes clear and the text blue for me. Much more readable.

    bimr,
    There are hypertext tags you can use for quotes when you want:
    Type this:
    [quote]...quoted text...[/quote]

    There's also a button above the reply box that formats the quote for you.

    STF

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Thanks SparWeb... didn't know that.

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    As a matter of fact, I don't believe everyone has my best interest in mind. And I know I'm right.

    But that's off the topic. So anyone up for personal attacks?

    "The capitalists that operate the water companies" how many can you name? Most water companies are government or nonprofit corporations.




    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Bimr,

    Very few people have your interest at heart when you break it down. Medicine you take is often ineffective at best, profit driven, fraudulently studied, and too often flat out dangerous. Water contamination problem not just in Flint. Your food is doctored with hormones, pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics. I am burdened with a military that is no longer about protecting me but to support corporate interest. My environment is polluted to what the law will allow. The bar for which keeps getting lowered. I have a very hard time thinking of when my interest was at heart. Most of the time when it is, it is merely coincidental or a byproduct. It is my job to look out for myself as much as possible. No one else will.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    HBH:
    and burgers are modified with some sort of adulterant to make it more palatable... Can't win for losin'

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "The capitalists that operate the water companies" how many can you name?

    There are many private water companies working for profit:

    Veolia Environnement (Vivendi), serving 125.4 million in 2011;
    Suez, serving 124.3 million people in 2011 with its US subsidiary United Water and its Spanish subsidiary Aguas de Barcelona;
    American Water is a public utility company operating in the United States and Canada provides services to approximately 15 million people in more than[quantify] 45 U.S. states and Ontario, Canada
    Closer to Flint, there was the Detroit Water Department. The municipal system was created in the 1800’s because private suppliers were failing to deliver safe drinking water.

    http://www.eclectablog.com/2017/04/detroits-water-...

    http://www.nawc.org/our-industry/private-water-sol...

    HamburgerHelper, Of course there are a few out there like the Martin Shkreli's, the Heather Bresch's, and the Gordon Gecko's. However, those people are the anomalies.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    It seems that Glasgow did everything right, but, "Glasgow was also charged criminally and accepted a plea agreement in which he agreed to assist special prosecutors in other cases"

    He alerted numerous people to the potential problems.

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    dik,

    If you read some of the thread above, you will see that Glasgow was not qualified and likely misstated his qualifications to obtain an operators license. In order to obtain a water operator license in most States, it is generally required to work under the supervision of a licensed operator prior to obtaining a license, similar to an apprentice program. On the operator licensing application, you must list where you worked and obtained the treatment plant operating experience. You can't obtain a water operator license without experience and yet the State of Michigan did license Glasgow. It is a mystery how Glasgow obtained a license.

    MDEQ requirement for an F-1 water plant operator license "F-1 - 60 Points plus: work in 4 or more categories for at least 1 year AND at least 3 years of operating experience of which year is in a F-2 system or higher." Michigan requires at least 3 years experience.

    https://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-ess-otu...

    Knowing the requirements to obtain a license and the fact that Glasgow's career consisted of only working for the City of Flint (which did not have an operational water treatment plant) to obtain the experience, would suggest that he committed fraud in filling out the water treatment license application.

    Glasgow resume shows that he never worked at any other operating water treatment plant. Once in charge of the Flint water plant, he obviously did not operate the water treatment plant correctly as shown in the operating results.

    Basically, there was an inadequate level of staffing due to a lack of municipal funds and the people in charge of the City did not recognize this and allowed it to happen.


    The State also requires that there are be more than one licensed person on staff and there were no others with the proper licenses employed at Flint.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Low pay, no one wants to live in flint, rampant nepotism, politicians pushing an agenda. What could go wrong? I would bet a bag of donuts that there are a bunch of other people working for the city that are not properly qualified.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Run into the ground for 50 years by corrupt local politicians.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    bimr... quite possible, but when he thought he had a problem, qualified or not, he ran up a red flag... to no avail...

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    It wasn't politicians alone. Flint, like many older rust-belt cities, was basically a 'company (or one product) town'. And in this case, the "one" product was automobiles, produced by General Motors in particular. A lot of the s the citizens of Flint was directly related to the ebb and flow of the auto industry. And it took close to 100 years for this to become institutionalized to the point where neither the citizen nor their representatives, locally or otherwise, could really do anything about it. It was totally beyond their control.

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    dik,

    More than possible. Similar to the responsibility of being a PE, the operator in responsible charge is designated by the owner of the system or facility and is responsible for the operation of the facility. If he had known what he was doing, he would have refused to certify the water as safe and instead would have resigned.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-glasgow-21b881...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Well to be fair... integrity is not listed anywhere on his LinkedIn profile.

    Technology is stealing American jobs. Stop H1-Bs for robots.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    And people wonder how this could happen to the residents of Flint (as I've said all along, if this had been Grosse Point or Birmingham, this would never have been allowed to happen):

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/flint-water-cr...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I watched the NOVA report, pretty scary when the narrator states that Flint River water was so corrosive it was having an impact on the quality of GM engine parts...but still fit for human consumption

    Jeff
    Pipe Stress Analysis Engineer
    www.xceed-eng.com

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I would think that criminal negligence causing death would be more appropriate...

    This type of event should be taken out of the hands of the local prosecutor and be undertaken by a lawyer specialised in criminal law so there is no conflict of interest.

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Quote (JGard1985)

    I watched the NOVA report, pretty scary when the narrator states that Flint River water was so corrosive it was having an impact on the quality of GM engine parts...but still fit for human consumption

    Water standards at a lot of manufacturing plants are very particular. That the water wasn't useable by the plant does not automatically mean it would be unsafe for potable use- lots of plants all over the country have their own on-site processing to deal with the local water.

    The particular plant under discussion doesn't have on site processing, so when the new water source was outside their acceptable range, they had no choice but to change back to the previous source.

    None of this is to say that the river water was being properly processed for potable use.. just that saying the plant had to switch is less indicative than you might think.

    There are two other plants in Flint- a truck assembly plant and a stamping plant. The engine plant is the only one that switched- the other two stayed on river water.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Quote:

    Unlike the lead poisoning that has affected thousands of Flint children, Legionnaires’ is not caused by drinking contaminated water.

    A minor point for someone brushing their teeth or standing in a shower.

    Keith Cress
    kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Quote (itsmoked)

    A minor point for someone brushing their teeth or standing in a shower.

    But a major one considering that the guy who died from Legionnaire's disease, and is named in the huffpost link above, lived in a town called Mt. Morris (which is north of Flint) which receives its water from Genessee County, not from the City of Flint system. Mt. Morris was never, at any time, supplied with water from the Flint River.

    I said this in a post in this thread many months ago; the link between the outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease and the Flint crisis seems to me to be tenuous. Correlation does not equate to causation as we all know.

    I can't say for certain that the Legionnaire's outbreak is NOT related to the Flint River fiasco.. but it appears to me that no one can say with any certainty that it was a direct consequence of the Flint River crisis either.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Charges of Manslaughter in Flint

    JohnRBaker Sorry, didn't see your previous post. Already had it.

    Richard Feynman's Problem Solving Algorithm
    1. Write down the problem.
    2. Think very hard.
    3. Write down the answer.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    jgKRI, but it makes a good story anyway. Despite the facts. The news media does not care about facts, as they just get in the way.

    I keep hearing about the unique setting a local park offers, despite the fact the homeless use it as a bathing place. Facts don't matter in the news.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Whether this is totally relevant to the charges, we'll have to wait and see, but there are reports that Michigan state officials went out of their way to try and make sure that any reporting and/or investigation into the rapid increase in the incidents of Legionaries Disease experienced in Flint and the surrounding county (which BTW includes Mt. Morris) that took place during the period of time that the city's water was being taken from the Flint River, that there be NOTHING that would suggest that these two situations were related since this could look bad for the Governor. It was reported that a team from one of the universities conducting a review of the Legionaries outbreak was told by people close to the Governor that if they insisted on looking for a correlation between the outbreak and the switch in the city's water source, from the historical contract with the Detroit water system to the local use of the river water, that Lansing would see to it that the university's funding from the state would be cut.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2017/06/...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The story being told in local media at this point is that the Legionella outbreak was a direct consequence of the Flint River situation, and that everyone who has been implicated in the water changeover chain of events is thus responsible for the deaths from Legionella infection.

    That is the connection that is tenuous to me.

    No argument from me at all that if Eden Wells tried to cover up the outbreak to not make the publicity for the water changeover any worse than it already was, that she should pay the price. Even if the outbreak is completely unrelated to the water changeover in Flint (which is likely difficult/impossible to completely prove or disprove at this point) she was definitely in violation of her duty as an officer of the state with regard to interfering with the Legionella investigation.

    What. A. Mess.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding: JGard1985 (Structural) 14 Jun 17 12:37

    I watched the NOVA report, pretty scary when the narrator states that Flint River water was so corrosive it was having an impact on the quality of GM engine parts...but still fit for human consumption


    Somewhat irrelevant statement. Beverages such as Coke and orange juice have a pH of 3 and would also be unsuitable for cleaning GM engine parts, yet these beverages are suitable for human consumption.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The Legionaries Disease outbreak was not necessarily caused by the Flint River situation.

    However, the causes of the Legionaries Disease outbreak and the Flint River situation are similiar. Lack of funding at the State and local level, State deregulation, and lack of institutional control at the State and local level. The Flint situation was also enhanced by a political power struggle within Genessee County.

    It should not be surprising to find that these causes create additional problems across the State. The Legionaries Disease outbreak is caused by bacteria which don't recognize municipal borders.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    from the AP regarding a recent terrorist attack, "Investigators are working to learn more about Ftouhi, whom they describe as a lone-wolf attacker who made his way from Canada to the seemingly random destination of Flint, a struggling Michigan city once known for its sprawling General Motors factories but now better known for lead-tainted water."

    Flint can't seem to avoid their infamy...

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    How was it that the FBI described the knife attack at the Flint airport, which appears to have only injured a single person, as an act of 'terrorism' while at the same time refusing to call the shootings at the Congressional baseball practice in Virginia a 'terrorist' attack, which injured and put at risk significantly more people? Perhaps if the name of the Virginia shooter had been Mohammad instead of James, the FBI would have reacted differently...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The perp shouted, Aluh Ackbar (sp?) before attacking... helps keep FBI and HS guys employed...

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Yup... Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "Intent and ideology". Sounds like the both the Flint knifing and the DC shooting fit the bill.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    By "intent" I do not mean simply the desire to do something, I mean the reasoning behind taking the action.

    Dan - Owner
    http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    So whether something is viewed as an act of terrorism is solely based on what's in the mind of the perpetrator, eh?

    I suspect that if you were to ask the intended targets about what was going through THEIR minds at the time, they would provide you with a very different set of criteria to use when deciding whether something was terrorism or not.

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    So some lunatic decides to start stabbing people at random... but because the victims decide in their own heads it's terrorism, it should be properly labeled "terrorism". Pffft, come on... that means we've had domestic terrorism numerous times per year in every state for as long as this country has been around neutral

    Dan - Owner
    http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The big thing was that they identified Flint with the water problem.

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    People feel terror from a car accident, but that's not terrorism. I have experience such terror spinning out on black ice and going over the edge of the road, but not a single terrorist to be seen, unless I count myself.

    The US State Department has a definition:
    (2) the term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents

    Kaczinsky and McVeigh fit that definition, Dahmer and Son of Sam do not. The main objective of a terrorist is not to generate terror in the actual victims, per se, but to instill terror in survivors.

    TTFN (ta ta for now)
    I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
    FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Hokie... good link...

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The guy definitely knows how to blow one's own horn. Can't blame him for sniffing out grant money.

    On the other hand, the lack of attention by UM, MSU, and Michigan Tech is an embarrassment. Perhaps they don't want to piss off the legislature who funds them?

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Speaking of Michigan Tech and water quality, while this is a bit tangential, at least someone is trying to think ahead of a potential problem BEFORE it happens:

    http://wnmufm.org/post/michigan-tech-tapped-lead-l...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    That would be the 60-year old pipeline under the Mackinac.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCMfDDcyRb0&in...

    Based on the video, would be a start for a new forum: Impending Environmental Disasters.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Perhaps, but if the people in charge (from the water treatment operator to the state legislature and governor) were consciously doing their work, this fiasco would never have happened.

    Edwards is doing what is known in the aerospace business as tombstone engineering. The problems need to be and should have been identified long before it got to that point.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    You could say that about most of the problems identified in this forum. A lot of us work as "tombstone engineers", but we prefer to call ourselves forensic engineers. We don't live in a perfect world.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Please. This guy is being called "heroic" and his efforts have been called "exhausting". All this person did was collect some water samples and then blew his horn.

    This water business is settled science that requires little "engineering" skills.

    I will be the first one to call him heroic if he is able to (and it will take an exhausting effort) change the mindset of the small government idealogues who are responsible for creating this mess. In the news today, the idealogues are talking about another $1.5 trillion tax cut when the infrastructure needs for water systems alone are over $1 trillion.

    https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/cat-item/...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    This is going to be with us for years:

    Flint Water Crisis Likely Increased Fetal Deaths, Study Shows

    Another hint that the U.S. ought to quit using lead pipes for water.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/flint-water-fe...

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    "It's déjà vu all over again." This is something that has been known for over a century.

    "Lead pipes for carrying drinking water were well recognized as a cause of lead poisoning by the late 1800s in the United States. By the 1920s, many cities and towns were prohibiting or restricting their use. To combat this trend, the lead industry carried out a prolonged and effective campaign to promote the use of lead pipes. Led by the Lead Industries Association (LIA), representatives were sent to speak with plumbers’ organizations, local water authorities, architects, and federal officials. The LIA also published numerous articles and books that extolled the advantages of lead over other materials and gave practical advice on the installation and repair of lead pipes. The LIA’s activities over several decades therefore contributed to the present-day public health and economic cost of lead water pipes."

    This would be a good topic for a business school case study: government regulation or letting the free market take its toll.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Quote:

    government regulation or letting the free market take its toll.

    the free market or letting government regulation take its toll.

    Choose wisely, business school!

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    One of the three 'great' lies, "I'm with the government, and, I'm here to help you."

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    What most people refuse to accept is the reality that WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT!!!! To think otherwise is an exercise in self-delusion.

    And to that end, try asking the people in Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands whether they are looking for the "government" to help them.

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    John:
    "What most people refuse to accept is the reality that WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT!!!! To think otherwise is an exercise in self-delusion."

    I hope you are being sarcastic... That may have been the situation at one time... but is a well 'oiled' myth... I have never know governments to act in a manner of looking after the long term interests of the people. In the last few decades, it's gotten a lot worse, and, I see no sign of it improving.

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I was dead serious. BTW, do you vote? I NEVER miss an election, no matter what's on the ballot, be it a local municipal election, a primary, mid-term, presidential, whatever. People complain about who's in Washington yet they have control over that. Just go VOTE! We don't need term limits as we already have them, they're called elections. Trust me, if every eligible citizen was registered to vote and we had a 90% turnout for EVERY election, we would have a lot less problems then we do now since the real needs of the people would be at the top of list for every Representative and Senator.

    John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
    EX-Product 'Evangelist'
    Irvine, CA
    Siemens PLM:
    UG/NX Museum:

    The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
    It's finding someone you can't live without

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    I always vote, as does my wife... rain or snow, I push her in her wheelchair to the polling station...

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Regarding: One of the three 'great' lies, "I'm with the government, and, I'm here to help you."

    Good rhetoric, but an empty punch line. Reagan Was Wrong: The Nine Most Terrifying Words Are, “I’m a Libertarian and the Market Will Save You”

    Here is an example:

    Remember the Rural Electrification Agency (1936) that was responsible for providing power to rural areas?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_Electrificatio...

    Ask yourself what would happen today. There would be no power offered to the rural areas.

    Name a single successful Libertarian country in the world. That's right, there are none.



    RE: Flint Municipal water

    bimr: I don't think of it as rhetoric, but, as a lie based on well founded observation/perception.

    There's a really good reason why Libertarians are a failure... their approach doesn't work.

    Dik

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    At the time of rural electrification, may in rural had wind generators, and battery sets. After rural electrification most of those were gone. So we went from these farmers having to least cost for electric to them now having the highest cost of electric and poor service. And you think that is a good thing.

    Granted this was not as widespread as many people would like, but rural electrification killed the early green movement, and replaced it with dependence on the government.
    Strange how we now want wind energy back.

    Yes, electricty makes life easy, but at what cost. Just look at the few communities that don't want worldly things like central electric, and tell me they are unhappy.

    Who did who a favor? Now many of the rural people must take other jobs off the farm to pay their electric bills and taxes.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Cranky,

    I don't know if I would say it killed the green movement because it was only done in places where the only options that you had was to pay for an expensive interconnection or do without. I don't think environmentalism was ever a consideration during this period.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Spartan5: Does your handle mean you are a sparty?

    MSU's lack of interest is the responsibility of the MSU management, not the alumni. It is the mission of the state universities to be involved in these matters. Note also that the Great Lakes Law organization reported the same findings earlier in 2016 prior to the release of the Sadler study.

    Flint's financial crisis was largely state-made: From 2006 — the last year Flint ran a budget surplus — to the 2012 fiscal year, when it was placed under state receivership, state revenue sharing to Flint fell 61%, from $20 million to $7.9 million.

    http://www.greatlakeslaw.org/blog/2016/07/the-flin...

    http://www.greatlakeslaw.org/Flint/Hammer_Flint_MC...

    https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.mi-water.org/resourc...

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    It does mean that, bimr. Like you said earlier, the since behind this is mostly settled. Where specifically do you think the Michigan schools are remiss in all of this? What is the "lack of interest" you are referring to? As I understand it, the Flint resident reached out to Dr. Edwards because he was an expert in this field, had done similar work in DC, and already had funding for this sort of research.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Wording from the MSU mission statement:

    "•advancing outreach, engagement, and economic development activities that are innovative, research-driven, and lead to a better quality of life for individuals and communities, at home and around the world"

    The Flint situation went on for over a year and one would think that someone in the state government or branches would notice and get some experts involved. Flint would appear to be an excellent opportunity for MSU's environmental engineering program.

    Based on Mr. Edwards quotes, expert is not the word that ones to mind. Review this article:

    http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2017/02/...

    Here he states:

    "When Flint switched to the Flint River as a water source, the practice of adding orthophosphate inhibitors was discontinued, and phosphate corrosion scales began deteriorating."

    Feeding orthophosphate is not a science based method of corrosion control. It is a seat of the pants approach favored by chemical salesmen which is never validated. It is ridiculous to expect that feeding the typical low dosage of 1-5 mg/L of this chemical will do anything.

    If Mr. Edwards was an expert, he could have immediately identified the incorrect operation of the water treatment plant (low pH effluent) and distribution system (improper disinfectant dosage) as the major problems and the incident could have been resolved earlier.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    Quote (bimr)

    On the other hand, the lack of attention by UM, MSU, and Michigan Tech is an embarrassment. Perhaps they don't want to piss off the legislature who funds them?

    Quote (bimr)

    The Flint situation went on for over a year and one would think that someone in the state government or branches would notice and get some experts involved. Flint would appear to be an excellent opportunity for MSU's environmental engineering program.

    It's not that I'm a homer (though being an alumnus did heighten my attention to this), but I asked because I wanted to understand where it was you thought the local public universities were negligent in attending to this as suggested in your first quote.

    Your second quote appears to lay the blame on the bureaucratic side, not the academic; which is probably more accurate. MSU's mission statement seems irrelevant to that. It would have been an excellent opportunity if they were made aware of the problem.

    Quote (bimr)

    If Mr. Edwards was an expert, he could have immediately identified the incorrect operation of the water treatment plant (low pH effluent) and distribution system (improper disinfectant dosage) as the major problems and the incident could have been resolved earlier.
    This sounds like the "settled science" part you were talking about. In which case all that was needed were knowledgeable people in the right places making the right decisions. This doesn't sound like an engineering research project.

    RE: Flint Municipal water

    The point being made is that are water experts in Michigan that could have been brought in and resolved this incident without having to rely on some "hero" from out of state.

    In addition, if the City of Flint had initially engaged the services of a qualified and licensed water treatment plant operator, this incident would never have occurred.

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