The Flint Water Crisis as a Case Study of America's Environmental Racism

Categories: Water Quality

Case study: The drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan

Flint is a city located in Michigan where there is a high rate of poverty. The drinking water crisis started when residents noticed the water quality changed and looked logically not safe. As recorded (Callihan, A.2017), this caused health risks like hair loss, rashes, high blood pressure, brain damage, and many other diseases.

Thus, the residents protested against the contamination of FlinFlinter as that is where they got their water supply. Moreover, the study showed in 2016 ( Rosner, D.

2016) lead was still found in the pipes where the water flowed for residents to receive water. As a result, the state had to apologize as many lawsuits were against them because of the situation that impacted many lives in the Flint community.

There were also rules and regulations from the Safe Drinking Water Act implemented to companies who do not follow the laws will receive fines. The citizens to recover can make claims to move forward and will obtain aid and benefits or alternative options.

As a recommendation to prevent this horrible situation from happening to a community the government is required to take action by implementing stricter laws to protect water quality for citizens and monitor the water quality constantly. And, impose a universal law that allows all citizens to have access to great water quality equally. However, the laws in Flint were not respected and the state did not do any action despite there being laws. Moreover, tests were taken from residents to record diseases and as a result of the situation, the environmental justice was that residents gain health coverage, health, and the lead amount willmonitoreditor and there was a lawsuit against the state in which the residents and other defendants joined together to defend the impacts on the health of the citizens who were affected badly in Flint.

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Likewise, Flint city faced environmental justice before in 1937 by General Motors (GM) and was very polluted. However, after residents did a sit-down protest the company lost economic investment and gave in as they had many investors and started to notice the pollution in water quality due to lead. Nevertheless, in the aftermath of the contamination of Flint’s drinking water some houses from the community that was sampled resulted in a presence of a high amount of lead in pipes as the lead service lines were old, and hard to take out the effect of the lead. The amount of lead depended on the sites and the age of the indoor piping system of a house. The article on Warren County (Warren County, NC, and the Emergence of the Environmental Justice Movement: Unlikely Coalitions and Shared Meanings in Local Collective Action) is about a community located in North Carolina where there were construction trucks that carry hazardous waste landfill dumped it on the sides of the roads of Warren County which contaminated the soil.

Liquid discharge PCB contaminated from waste transferred from a company on the soil at sides of roads which was illegal. This led to a massive protest and the introduction of environmental justice. In addition, because most of the majority of protestors and citizens from the county were African American they also experience environmental racism. For instance, when black protestors united as one with black leaders they were blamed because they all united as one and the state thought they overreacted.

The protestors not only protested for environmental justice but also for civil rights and there was environmental racism as the company dumped the landfill waste in Warren County because most of the population had many poor people mostly African Americans. In addition, the government and companies that dumped the waste landfill were too cheap to put in Alabama their landfill waste although that is where they originally dumped their waste because Warren County had a poor racialized population powerless they didn’t mind and ignored the community and dumped illegally their contaminated waste. The black community was badly treated. However, not only black citizens united but also white citizens protested in the community. The protestors lay down on the road creating an intense situation to stop the construction trucks from dumping the land waste on the roadsides. This movement raise awareness and many eyes were on this situation.


  1. Eileen Maura McGurty (2000) Warren County, NC, and the Emergence of the Environmental Justice Movement: Unlikely Coalitions and Shared Meanings in Local Collective Action, Society & Natural Resources, 13:4, 373-387, DOI: 10.1080/089419200279027
  1. Callihan, Amanda. “The Drinking Water Supply Crisis in Flint, Michigan: What It Exposes About Enforcement of Water Supply Law and Public Health in the United States.” Tulane Environmental Law Journal29, no. 2 (2017): 303-21. Accessed from 3.
  2. “Monitoring the Aftermath of Flint Drinking Water Contamination Crisis: Another Case of Sampling Bias?” The Science of the total environment. 590 (n.d.): 139–153.
  3. Access Electronic Resources. (2020). Retrieved from 0489697/6590icomplete/139 mtaofdcacosb.xml.
  4. Flint Water Crisis: Impacts and Lessons Learned: Joint Hearing before the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy and the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, Second Session, April 13, 2016.
  5. Washington: U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2017. (2020). Retrieved from
  6. CHRG-114hhrg20534.pdf. 5. Rosner, David. 2016. “Flint, Michigan: A Century of Environmental Injustice”. American Journal of Public Health 106 (2): 200-201.
  7. American Public Health Association. doi:10.2105/ajph.2015.303011 6. Egan, Paul. Nov 17,2020. Detroit Free Press.
  8. 7. Demchak, Melissa. Nov 08, 2020. “Flint Water Crisis: Everything You Need to Know”. NRDC.
  1. d-know. Editorial Research, CNN. 2020. “Flint Water Crisis Fast Facts”. CNN.

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The Flint Water Crisis as a Case Study of America's Environmental Racism. (2022, Jul 23). Retrieved from

The Flint Water Crisis as a Case Study of America's Environmental Racism
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