After appointed city manager illegally jacked up prices, Flint paid the highest water rates in America

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A prime example of “insult to the injury”. If I ever saw one.


Due to budget considerations the helping hands of government extended to Flint will consist of one finger from each hand, offered at arms length


Phoenix has the cheapest water in the US? only $84.24?

Cushy deal.


Beat me to it. My version:

“Insult, meet Injury. You’re going to work great together.”


it’s a desert so of course water is cheap… hrmm.

according to this and this: the “central arizona project” started construction in the 1970s, and most of the work finished up by the 80s and 90s. it connects the colorado river – almost 350 miles away – to phoenix and other cities.

Residents … are paying only 45 percent of the project’s $3.6 billion cost. The difference is a national burden.

interestingly, some of those cities also had problems with “rust” from old pipes – which i’m assuming means lead – due to the chemical change when the new water source was introduced.

when i went to type “why is phoenix water so cheap” – google auto-completed to “why does phoenix water taste bad” – so, maybe they’re still having problems.


I bet they at least sprung for the longest finger from each hand…


That is not a sound assumption. The problem in Flint was not rusty pipes, it was a change in water source (and thus pH) as well as a decision not to add a trace amount of a chemical (at a savings of <50K annually) which would stabilze (and had for a long time) the lead in the lines between the house and the water main in the street. Not the mains, not the systems, just between the street and the house. The last 50 feet AND the failed state government are the problems that caused the Lead issue in Flint. So, please, don’t start using it as a catch all water problem. It would be like crying wolf.

and there are plenty of actual wolves.


and for many years it disconnected the colorado river from the ocean. A lot of work has gone into restoring minimum flow.

I have a whole series of photos of me giving the finger to every. single. fountain. on the Las Vegas strip.



Yes and no. It’s slightly more complicated but you’re half right and it really depends a lot on the specific city, disinfection protocol, and the specific metals use in the city’s water infrastructure. It’s true that you can’t assume rusty water means lead, but in Flint, the iron rust in the water was caused by the same pH change that also led to lead in the water. In general, if iron pipes are rusting when a chlorine disinfectant is being used, then the electrochemical process is consuming some of that chlorine, lowering the overall effectiveness of the disinfectant. So rust is part of the problem in Flint. However, while chlorine is the most common disinfectant, it’s not the only one, and water with high iron content isn’t as dangerous as water with high lead content and if the city doesn’t also have lead pipes, or those pipes are not being depassivated for whatever reason, then it may not be a problem. So you can’t just look at the color of the water, but the rusty water may also be an indication of problems. It’s highly dependent on specifics, and in that regard you’re right.

Heavy metals at dangerous levels don’t always have a taste when in solution. The real cause is usually disinfectant byproducts (DBPs). When you disinfect water, sure it kills all the germs, but that doesn’t mean they go anywhere. Their little germy carcasses are still in the water. How the disinfectant, minerals, and these organic leftovers interact all affect the taste of the water, which may very well be safe to drink. This is why water can often take on a different taste after a big rain, which drags bacteria and organic material into reservoirs and increases DBPs.


The first two rather depend on a non totally dysfunctional state government taking democratic control away from your city, and I was talking about why rust in your water does not mean a lead scare is appropriate most of the time.

I wasn’t specific enough for you, didn’t cover every base in my simplified explanation - does not make me anything close to half-wrong.


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you’re half right.

It just keeps getting better. /s

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the wikipedia article i cited said:

The river water had a different mineral mixture and flow pattern from the aquifer water, stirring up and dislodging rust in city water mains and house pipes

i hear what you are saying about “crying wolf.” my phrasing was overly strong; it simply sounded similar to me. ( water supply switched, pipes begin to leach, residents complain. )

[ edit: @ActionAbe that was really great explanation you gave about how iron/rust and lead are not necessarily related; i was assuming rust was a euphemism or catch-all, but it makes sense it might literally mean rust. ]

the first article i linked mentioned that – in tucson at least – residents sued resulting in the city installing filtration systems in some homes. so i did some more quick reading about tucson, and its lead testing. looks like the city does sampling from 150 homes for its 201,000 housing units; but, per-home lead tests ( including the service lines ) seem to be left to the homeowner.

from 2004 there was this:

“There are no lead water mains left,” Basefsky ( public information officer for Tucson Water ) says, “and we don’t know of any service lines, but our feeling is there are some out there in individual circumstances.” Unfortunately, no maps exist that show where these pipes might be located.

i read all of that as the same old: affluent residents can afford to get their water tested and fixed, less affluent residents have fewer options.

fwiw, flint has a median income of ~25k, tucson ~45k. flint’s poverty rate is about 39%, tucson about 20%. from that alone we could probably assume any issues in tucson are likely to be less widespread than in flint.

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sure, but what you said first was basically fearmongering. Sorry. You might disagree with me, and that’s okay.I don’t need you to clarify what you meant.

You said you assumed lead because rust, and that is reactionary. That is a fear based uncritical thought. No.I will not respect it as anything but a sign that someone needs to be better informed. Science is not opinion, and policy is not science. So lets not move any goalposts.

I mean. why not assume it is Lupus? Or Arsenic. The latter is more likely, but not more true.

i read all of that as the same old: affluent residents can afford to get their water tested and fixed, less affluent residents have fewer options.

Oh, well I can do nothing about your cynicism. You seem to assume a lot, and, well, good luck with that bias that other people have so much of.

well, if it’s helpful, i’m not asking you to help me be less cynical. like skepticism, it can be a useful tool.

when fundamental roles of government are abdicated and privatized, like what happened with flint, a bit of cynicism - and certainly some reactionary questioning - are perfectly in order.