Forget about clogged pipes - Now hundreds of Union Plumbers from all around the country have gathered in Flint, Michigan to help residents install faucets and filters to residents in need - during one of the the worst water emergencies our country has faced.
Flint, Michigan has been in dire need of some good water news. After enduring one of the worse water-related health disasters in the history of the United States, concerned citizens are finally coming together to offer relief to plagued residents. In a show of support, groups of volunteer plumbers have flooded into the town to help with the devastation left over after toxic lead levels were found within the community's water supply.
Since October of 2014, a small group of plumbers from Flint’s own United Association Local 370, have worked tirelessly to install new filters and faucets to help remove the lead from the water supply. In 2014, Flint’s water supply was changed from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The water from the Flint River caused old pipes to corrode and lead to leach into the drinking water. Since January 5, 2016 a state of emergency has been called in Flint and extended through April 14, 2016. A federal investigation has been launched to determine any criminal wrongdoing.
Local plumbers have been overwhelmed with the sheer number of properties that require new faucets and filters. They finally received the assistance they needed when over 300 plumbers volunteered their time and expertise on January 30, 2016. In a single day, over 1,100 faucets and filters were successfully installed in Flint homes. This service was invaluable since many older residences in Flint had outdated or odd-shaped faucets that made it difficult to put on new filters. With faucets costing an average of $100, many Flint residents are unable to afford the hefty price tag. Since news of the water crisis broke, many have relied on donated water bottles to survive.
Members of Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) played a huge part in the humanitarian effort. They reached out to local unions across the nation to organize the plumbers to travel to Flint and donate their time to the cause. Besides enlisting the plumbers to help, PMI donated hundreds of faucets and plumbing supplies to the residents. Local plumbers went door to door to see what faucets were filter-ready or not and had a list ready of names and addresses for the January 30 volunteer group.
With national media attention and FEMA stepping in, the hope is the tide is turning for Flint residents. As grateful as the Flint community is for the plumbers’ support, there is still a lot of work to be done. The new faucets only filter approximately 150 parts per billion of lead while some homes have reported levels above 4,000 parts per billion of lead.
Continued efforts are required until all residents have clean, safe drinking water once again.
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