Water from the Flint River was so corrosive that it has damaged Flint’s fire trucks and may have endangered sprinkler systems in homes, businesses and government buildings, according to the city’s fire chief.
Chief David Cox Jr. told WJRT-TV that the pumps used to draw water to fight fires “are being destroyed by whatever is in the water.”
A city mechanic spotted an unusual amount of rust building up in the pump’s intake valves, damaging the rubber seals, which could significantly decrease water pressure to battle fires.
Fire officials also contacted sprinkler companies to request that they inspect the water-suppression systems.
In October 2014, six months after the state-controlled city switched to the Flint River, General Motors stopped using the river water because of fears that the highly corrosive water would rust car parts.
Gov. Rick Snyder spokesman David Murray told us today that state officials plan to address any problems that arise from the water crisis.
“Gov. Snyder is committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone in Flint,” Murray said. “The priority is to make the water safe and then address all infrastructure issues. It’s helpful and important for people to raise concerns so we can look for ways to assess all aspects of this crisis, caused by a failure of all levels of government.”
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.