Flint, Michigan's Water Crisis | SageWater

Flint, Michigan’s Water Crisis: Three Lessons Learned

It goes without saying that the Flint, Michigan disaster is beyond terrible for all those affected.  But, in every crisis there are lessons learned to prevent this from happening again. Recognizing that the lessons are numerous and the situation complex, as a company specializing in solving pipe problems; here are our three key high-level takeaways:


The chemical make up of water has a profound impact on the integrity of pipes.

Water composition is a major cause of pipe corrosion and failure over time.  Understanding water chemistry matters for the health of residents and the life span of the plumbing system.


To ensure drinking water is safe, test your water regularly to understand its chemical makeup and level of corrosivity.

A plumbing system is a big infrastructure investment and the composition of the water can dictate how quickly pipes deteriorate. The Flint River contained high levels of dissolved chloride ions causing metals such as iron and lead from the pipes to leach into the drinking water.  The addition of chlorine by the local water utility to combat bacteria exacerbated the corrosiveness.  This ultimately resulted in discolored and poor tasting water: telltale signs the water needs to be tested.  Pinhole leaks, corroded valves and leaching metals are additional early signs of a plumbing system headed towards failure.


Create and implement a corrosion control plan based on water chemistry, pipe material and environmental factors.

Using corrosion inhibitors helps create an environment inside the pipes less susceptible to corrosion.  Deploying corrosion inhibitors can arrest deterioration of the plumbing system and prevent metals from leaching into the drinking water.


Recognizing that corrosion is a real threat, and taking the necessary steps and precautions to prevent it, will result in a safer, cleaner environment, and a safer, healthier public.