Buzzfeed Piece Shows Complete Lack of Understanding of Water Industry
A level of misunderstanding of the water industry rarely seen is on a full display in a recent BuzzFeed piece. The author bases her entire argument – that a city in Africa should be cautious about working with a professional water company – on the completely incorrect claim that a water company was at the heart of the water crisis in Flint.
Even a tiny bit of research would have educated the author about what really happened in Flint. We’ve talked about it many times and will once again provide the important facts that the author either didn’t take time to learn or just simply ignored.
Flint had absolutely, positively nothing to do with private water companies. Flint’s water system had been under public control for decades before the lead crisis – and remains under public control today. The issue in Flint was that a lack of investment and operational expertise by government operators led to poorly treated water corroding dangerously old lead pipes.
Trying to blame Veolia for the disaster is preposterous and has zero supporting facts. Veolia was tasked with a very limited water testing scope in Flint – specifically looking at the residual effects of the chlorination process – and had nothing to do with testing for lead, which was the responsibility of the city and the state. When Veolia pointed out in the course of conducting its work that corrosive water conditions existed, Veolia was told to focus on the chlorination process and that lead and copper testing was being handled by the city.
Conflating Flint with privatization is nothing more than a scare tactic with zero supporting facts. It is disturbing that an outlet like BuzzFeed would publish a piece that can be so easily discredited for its lack of grounding in reality.