[2/3/19] – Flint Water Crisis: The Fifth Year Update

In 2014, Flint, Michigan sought out a cheaper source for its water supply. Due to poor water treatment, this switch caused lead and bacteria to leach into the drinking water of over 100,000 residents of the city. There have been 12 deaths from Legionnaire’s disease as a result. Despite the crisis beginning in 2014, it is still an ongoing issue—with questions of infrastructure, legal repercussions, and long-term solutions predominately unsolved.

With this week’s focus, we ask that you consider the manner in which mainstream media addresses and revisits ongoing and long-term issues in the news.

Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.


Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Flint Water Crisis: The Fifth Year Update



The water crisis in Flint, Michigan is a prime example of science being ignored, unknown, or even misused. Here’s the chemistry behind how so many things went wrong.


Michael Moore says the water crisis in Flint is a “version of manslaughter” and urges the Michigan government to act to fix the problem.





Writing: Do news outlets bear any particular responsibility when covering states of emergency? If they do, what kind of responsibility?

Debate: Flint is a largely working class or impoverished city with a high crime rate, and the majority of the population are people of color. Do you think this plays a part in how the news about Flint is covered? Why or why not?

Poll: In the news that you consume, how often have you seen or heard about Flint in the last year?

  • Often
  • A moderate amount
  • Not very much
  • A few times or less

Short Answer: If you were in the place of the Flint, Michigan residents, would you now trust your water after it was declared safe? Why or why not?


Current Events Quiz

How many people have been recently charged regarding the Flint water crisis?

  • 10
  • 12
  • 15
  • 3


Despite this, how many so far will have no criminal record?

  • 7
  • 3
  • 22
  • Hike!


No one is behind bars for the crisis, and some locals consider this a ___.

  • Welcome change of pace
  • Confusing shift
  • Pat on the back
  • Slap in the face


Flint’s water treatment plant was pressed into full-time use for the first time since___.

  • 2014
  • 1967
  • 1998
  • 1979


The water from major donors to Flint could be running out as soon as ____.

  • August 2022
  • July 2020
  • February 2030
  • April 2019




Featured image credit: Edward Kimmel from Takoma Park, MD

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