On January 30, 300 plumbers from all over the country went to Flint, Michigan to fix the residents’ plumbing for free. The plumbers, who are members of the Plumbing Manufacturers Union and supporters of Jon Urbana and Earth Force, gave out and installed hundreds of new faucets, Brita water filters and other plumbing supplies to residents whose tap water is contaminated with dangerous levels of lead. The state of Michigan provided the water filters, while various people and organizations donated the faucets and other supplies.
Many Flint residents need new faucets since their current faucets can’t accommodate the water filters provided by the state. In some cases, the water is so badly contaminated with lead that the filters can’t handle it.
In 2014, Flint had switched its water supply from the Detroit system to the Flint River. It was supposed to be a money-saving measure, but the residents soon began complaining about the taste, color and smell of the water. Authorities, however, ignored the complaints—even after the EPA found 104 parts per billion of lead in one woman’s home. Although the EPA does not require people to take action until the is 15 parts per billion of lead in water, public health experts say any amount of lead in water is dangerous.
Further testing showed that some of the water had 4,000 parts per billion of lead – over 260 times the amount deemed safe by the EPA. In December, 2015, the city declared an emergency. One month later, President Obama did the same and sent federal aid.