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ENC 3246: Professional Communication for Engineers

This guide provides you with information sources for the various assignments in Professional Communication for Engineers course.

Flint Water Crisis, Flint Michigan

stained water in the sink                                                              

The 2014 water crisis in Flint Michigan occurred when the city water
source switched from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River,
which was contaminated with lead and possibly Legionella bacteria,
exposing around 100,000 residents to elevated lead levels, including children. 
Acute illness and long-term health effects have been attributed
to the exposure. 

It started in 2013 when a cash strapped Flint ended its contract with buying
treated water for its residents from Detroit in favor of a cheaper alternative -
pumping water from the Flint River. Although the river water was highly
corrosive, Flint officials failed to treat it, and lead leached out from aging pipes into thousands of homes. A former thriving city, Flint’s population is now only
about 100,000 people, a majority of whom are African-American, and about 45 percent of its residents live below the poverty line.

Why did it fail?

Officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors to the water, which resulted in lead from aging pipes leaching into the water supply. An extensive lead service pipe replacement effort has been underway since 2016.

Example Sources

[1] M. Hanna-Attisha, J. LaChance, R.C. Sadler and A. Champney Schnepp, “Elevated blood lead levels in children associated with the Flint drinking water crisis: a spatial analysis of risk and public health response”, American Journal of Public Health, vol. 106, no. 2, pp. 283-290, Feb. 2016.
[2] A. Chojnacki, C. Dai, A. Farahi, G. Shi, J. Webb, D.T.  Zhang, and E. Schwartz, “A data science approach to understanding residential water contamination in flint”, Proceedings of the 23rd ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, Halifax, Nova Scotia, pp. 1407-1416, Aug. 2017.
[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) After the Flint Water Crisis: May 17–19, 2016, Flint, Michigan”, US Department of Health & Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia, Jul. 2016.
[4] B.J. Pauli, Flint Fights Back : Environmental Justice and Democracy in the Flint Water Crisis, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2019.
[5] Standard test methods for lead in water, ASTM International Standard D3559-15, Jun. 2019.
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