Mandatory Third-Party Michigan Water Testing

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Johnny Ellsworth
Johnny Ellsworth signed this petition

Clean water is a basic human right. However, Residents of Flint went three years without this basic right. In order to ensure that this never happens again, we have created this petition. Our names are Emma, Elina, Ella, Samantha, and Sophia, and we are middle schoolers from Michigan. We are starting this petition to encourage our legislators to take action so that water districts within the state of Michigan annually test their water through an outside company/third party. The results of these tests also must be released to the public as soon as they are confirmed.

The Flint Water Crisis brought water quality into the spotlight of America. In the spring of 2014, the city of Flint switched water supplies from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department to the Flint River to save money. The city of Flint didn’t use anti-corrosive treatments for the aging pipes, even though water from the Flint River is more corrosive, which caused lead pipes to corrode and lead to get into the water supply. The EPA has a limit of 15 ppb (parts per billion) of lead in water. However, scientists at Virginia Tech who tested Flint Water found lead levels as high as 13,200 ppb in water in some homes. Anything with 5,000+ ppb of lead is considered hazardous waste by the EPA.

Prior to the spring of 2015, Flint residents were receiving unreliable information on the quality of their water.  For instance, homes that were unlikely to have lead contamination were selected to be tested because they were connected to a  new water main (a main line of a water supply system). This accounted for over ten percent of Flint’s water testing in 2015. By requiring districts to have their water quality tests performed by an outside source, the chance that results would be forged or distorted greatly decreases.

Currently water testing results are not required to be released. We demand that the results of the third party water tests must be released to the public, as soon as the results are confirmed by a certified water testing company. The results need to easily accessible to the public and put online on a common website despite the third party tester, so that all of the general public can have access to it. In Flint, citizens knew something was wrong in their water. They reported many health problems like hair loss and rashes. Even General Motors stopped using Flint water because they realized it was corroding car parts.

Even with these signs that something was wrong with the water, local and state officials assured the people of Flint that nothing was wrong leading the people of Flint to drink and bathe with this contaminated water which led to birth defects, and even an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease which killed twelve people. It has also been shown that consumption of high levels of lead can affect can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves. When children are exposed the health effects are even worse. These effects include impaired cognition, behavioral disorders, hearing problems and delayed puberty.


What You Can Do

While this petition is inspired on the incident that occurred in Flint, this petition will help cities all over the state of Michigan. In Ann Arbor, there is a PFAS problem in the water. PFAS, which are human made chemicals, are dangerous when found in high concentrations in drinking water. The city of Ann Arbor decided not to release test results showing the dangerously high amount of certain kinds of PFAS in the water.

to the public. In early December of 2018, The amount of total PFAS in Ann Arbor’s water after treatment ranged from 53.2 ppt to 88.1 ppt which is a dramatic increase from earlier in the year when there was only 12.6 ppb.The EPA only sets limitations on certain PFAS and the types of PFAS that are polluting the water in Ann Arbor are not covered by the guidelines set by the EPA allowing the results to quietly be released. The residents of Ann Arbor were unaware until multiple Ann Arbor news organizations specifically requested the results. This petition would allow this information to have been readily available and there would be no secrecy around what’s in our water. Ann Arbor is not the only city facing a problem with these chemicals. There are over 30 sites in Michigan that are contaminated with PFAS and the state of Michigan is just starting to get involved with fixing them.

If testing of these sites were done by an independent, external source, there would have been less bias and this would have led to less secrecy about what’s in the water. The people of Michigan deserve more transparency to these results. The people of Michigan deserve clean water.


Please help us reach our goal of 10,000 signatures. In order to keep our water free of dangerous chemicals and to allow the public to know all information related to their water without any lies or distortion. The people of Michigan deserve to know that their water is clean, and by signing this petition, you can help us achieve this.