clean water

When Floods Recede, Troubles Rise

Oct 12, 2016
Photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Shaw, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment/via Flickr

There’s little worse than the vast flooding Hurricane Matthew has unleashed in North Carolina. Dirty water has breached homes, storefronts, nursing homes. People have been trapped in cars stalled in rushing water. Death tolls are rising.

But as people of this coastal state know too well, the trouble will not fade when Matthew’s floodwaters recede.

When Flint, Michigan stopped buying water from Detroit and starting treating the nearby Flint River for its drinking water, quality plummeted. As this piece in The Atlantic explains other cash-strapped cities around the country may risk similar problems as they struggle to upkeep infrastructure. “Flint is an extreme case, but nationally, there’s been a lack of investment in water infrastructure,” Eric Scorsone, an economist at Michigan State University told the Atlantic. “This is a common problem nationally.”

In places where fresh water is hard to come by, how do you come up with clean drinking water? Easy — get the water from poop.