The 2019 WDET Book Club has focused on the extensive damage of the Flint Water Crisis and what it tells us about access to affordable, clean drinking water through a reading of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s book “What the Eyes Don’t See.”
That book’s title reflects the sorry state of the infrastructure right under our feet, but just out of sight. It’s the pipes and pumps and other systems we depend on to get clean water to us and take it away when we’re done with it. But because we can’t see those systems ourselves, we don’t talk about the need to maintain them — at least not as much as we talk about visible infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller says state and federal officials must make funding infrastructure improvements a priority. Otherwise, she says, another disaster is imminent.
“There’s not doubt that something is going to happen again, whether it’s a water infrastructure failure or a sewage infrastructure failure,” Miller says on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson. “And if you have another infrastructure failure, for instance, that starts dumping raw sewage out into the Great Lakes, all of a sudden everyone’s going to go, why haven’t we done something about this?”
Miller says one silver lining to the Flint Water Crisis is that local governments, including Macomb, are stepping up inspections of underground infrastructure, something she says was neglected in Macomb for decades under previous commissioners.