Flint activist to speak at Clean Water Town Hall in Three Rivers

Pictured is a water tower at the Flint Water Plant In Flint, Michigan on January 23, 2016. The Flint water crisis was a public health crisis that started in 2014 after the drinking water for the City of Flint was contaminated with lead and possibly Legionella bacteria.

Melissa Mays, who has advocated for citizens’ rights related to the Flint water crisis, will be the evening’s keynote speaker

Activist Melissa Mays of “Water You Fighting For” will be the keynote speaker at the Clean Water Town Hall, 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26 at First United Methodist Church, 215 N. Main St. in Three Rivers.

Two local organizations — the Three Rivers Clean Water Campaign and H.O.P.E. – Homeless Outreach Practiced Daily — are collaborating to sponsor the event.

According to a report from MLive’s Ron Fonger, Mays and Claire McClinton of the Democracy Defense League were among the first community activists to protest the City of Flint’s use of the Flint River for drinking water while Flint was being overseen by a state-appointed emergency financial manager during the Flint water crisis.

Back in February, the City of Three Rivers announced it found five additional homes with lead levels that exceed the federal limit for lead contamination during its second round of testing between July and December 2023.

The announcement came six months after the city reported it had found six homes with results over 15 parts per billion (ppb), the aforementioned federal limit, during its first round of testing residents’ tap water for lead and copper. The initial round of testing included 47 homes, while the second resulted in the collection of a first and fifth liter sample from 45 sampling locations.

According to a release from City Manager Joe Bippus and Public Services Director Amy Roth, The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) evaluates compliance with an action level based on the 90th percentile of lead and copper results collected in each round of sampling.

 The lead 90th percentile for the city’s water supply is 16 ppb, three ppb lower than the 19 ppb city staff reported in August 2023. 

As Watershed Voice previously reported, the “action level” is a measure of corrosion control effectiveness; it is not a health-based standard. The goal for lead in drinking water is 0 ppb, and there is no safe level of lead in the blood. Lead can cause serious damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous system, and red blood cells, and is especially dangerous for children, infants and fetuses.