People in Flint are being threatened with foreclosure for not paying for toxic water
The city of Flint — despite providing unsafe, lead-contaminated drinking water to its residents over the past few years — is sending thousands of lien notices for unpaid water bills. If left unpaid, Flint residents could lose their homes, even though they have been essentially poisoned since at least 2014 by contaminated water lines.
One resident, Melissa Mays, must pay nearly $900 on her water bill, or risk receiving a tax lien on her home, reports NBC 25 News in Michigan. Unpaid liens can result in foreclosures on properties if the bills remain unpaid. The city sent nearly 8,000 notices to other residents of Flint.
Despite limited efforts to remedy the lead water crisis in Flint, nearly 5 percent of all homes still have lead levels that exceed federal standards. Yet lead poisoning may be even more widespread than this: federal rules stipulate that lead levels at 15 parts per billion require action, but many experts agree that action should be taken at levels lower than that, and scientists agree that there is no safe level of lead exposure.
Flint and other government officials have known since 2014 that the public water supply was contaminated. A recall election against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has recently been initiated, in part due to the slow response to the lead crisis.
The median income for a household in Flint is around $24,800, with 40 percent of the city living in poverty. Requiring residents to make thousands of dollars in water payments or risk losing their homes will undoubtedly be a hardship many families will not be able to afford.