Whether it is Legionnaires Disease in Flint, Michigan or black sludge in Crystal City, Texas, the consistent theme that emerges is that the authorities fail to notify the public.
NBC News has reported that in Jackson, Mississippi the public was not warned for eight months after the authorities discovered lead in the water:
Lead lines were used all over the country, and this is going to become a national issue.
The New York Times verified the lack of notice in Flint, Michigan:
An examination of government emails, and interviews with people who survived Legionnaires’ and relatives of those who died, shows the government response to the Legionnaires’ outbreak followed the same pattern that prevailed throughout the Flint water crisis: a failure to act swiftly to address a dangerous problem or warn the public.
While the Washington Post confirmed this ongoing lack of transparency and accountability by public officials over water conditions in Crystal City:
We didn’t get a proper warning,” Crystal City resident Nora Flores-Guerrero told KSAT. “They didn’t post anything or send out any type of message to warn the residents. It was pretty scary.
You all completely dropped the ball by not notifying the people of Crystal City!” one person commented, questioning why news of the black water got around on social media before the municipal government said anything.
Authorities failing to notify the public of an outbreak has been a steady drumbeat on this blog where the public health is so dependent on safe drinking water; yet public authorities continue to delay active and affirmative disclosure of unsafe water conditions.
The situation is further complicated in Crystal City because many of the public officials are arrested and indicted for other malfeasance. Not surprisingly it was the use of social media that notified the public of the water issue in Crystal City, Texas. Can it be that having no officials in charge is better than having them in charge?