John Haltiwanger

The Sheriff Of Flint Explains The Awful Origins Of The Water Crisis

Sheriff Robert J. Pickell has been in Flint, Michigan for decades, and has watched the city go through many ups and downs.

But, in his view, Flint has never faced something so devastating as the ongoing water crisis. In his words,

This crisis is the biggest, not only in the 17 years that I've been the sheriff but in the entire time I've been in Flint since 1964. What's sad about it is that it was created by man. It wasn't created by a natural disaster – people created it.

In 2014, Flint's water supply was switched from Detroit to the Flint River in an effort to cut costs. But the water wasn't properly treated and became contaminated with lead from old pipelines.

It didn't take long for residents to realize something was wrong with the water, but the government insisted it was fine.

Consequently, thousands of children were poisoned with lead.

The government only admitted something was wrong after continuous public outcry and the involvement of scientists from Virginia Tech.

The water supply was ultimately switched back to Detroit, but by that point it was too late.

In the video above, Sheriff Pickell explains how this crisis happened, what it means for the city, what it says about America and what must be done to fix the problem.

If you're interested in learning more, watch Elite Daily's full documentary on the Flint water crisis below.