Michigan's Water Problem

Michigan’s waters are iconic, but too many of our residents today cannot drink the water in their community or touch the lake outside their door. Chemicals, such as PFAS or PFCs, have been found in surface and drinking water in communities across the state.

We need policies that will safeguard our water resources now and in the future.

The Problem
Even though we’re never more than six miles from a natural water source, the unfortunate reality is that clean water is nearly inaccessible for many Michiganders.

Flint Water Crisis: Flint has been without clean, drinkable water since April 2014. The short-sighted decision to switch Flint’s water source to an untested system has cost at least 12 lives, hundreds of millions of dollars and left children with long-term health problems.

PFAS: Fifteen cities across Michigan are contaminated with toxic substances used to make fire retardant and waterproof shoes. Just one eye dropper of liquid PFAS in an Olympic-sized swimming pool can cause harmful, even life-threatening, health risks . The State of Michigan knew these chemicals were in our water but never warned anyone until it was too late.

Dioxane Plumes: A dioxane plume near Ann Arbor has polluted an aquifer the city had been using for drinking water, and continues to spread east. As a result, city officials have had to shut off a well station on the city's west side, while a groundwater use prohibition zone remains in effect for a large segment of the remaining areas.

In every instance, the Snyder Administration and the Republican-controlled legislature sat on their hands and did nothing. Instead of sending immediate help, their first instinct has been to respond to pollution with dangerous inaction.

It’s time for a tidal wave of change because decisions made with only the bottom line in mind have devastating consequences.

Our Solution
Senate Democrats are committed to finding immediate and lasting solutions to our water issues. We should empower citizens to demand action that will prevent environmental injustice, including:

  • Corporate Accountability: Companies must be held accountable for chemical dumping that compromises the health and wellbeing of residents.
  • Updating Infrastructure: We need to commit to replace aging water systems and make routine water assessments the norm.
  • Repealing the Emergency Manager Law: Michigan’s emergency manager law should be replaced or restructured to provide greater transparency and accountability in local decisions, such as water management.

Michigan residents and families should not have to worry about the safety of water flowing from their taps. We must hold accountable those who put our neighbors’ and communities’ clean drinking water in jeopardy, and prevent actions that threaten drinking water quality.

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