The Poisoned City

The Poisoned City

Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy

Anna Clark

The allowance of some lead under the LCR was the EPA’s way of acknowledging that without adequate funding to rebuild America’s massive lead-based infrastructure, not to mention all the plumbing fixtures in individual homes, there was simply no way to eliminate it completely from drinking water. Only a colossal investment, thoughtfully executed, would make zero tolerance possible. The EPA estimated that it would cost up to $ 80 billion to replace all of the nation’s lead service lines, while the American Water Works Association calculated it at about $ 30 billion—or $ 1 trillion, if we repaired and expanded our old water mains, too. 68 This never became a priority. Not yet, at least. In the meanwhile, some communities tried to address the lead problem on their own, mostly focusing on paint.

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