Erin Brockovich, the water-safety activist who was immortalized in the eponymous film starring Julia Roberts, had her say on the water-safety scandal in Flint, Michigan on the Bill Maher show.
She explained that the water safety issue stemmed from the reluctance of public utility companies to purchase carbon-activated filtration systems, which can cost large sums of money.
“It’s expensive. They don’t want to pay for it, so they’ve gone the cheap route, and they throw ammonia in the water system,” Brockovich said. “All of this is happening because of corrupt politics and … greed, and it has to stop.”
Despite a lack of a formal background in law, Brockovich was instrumental in a class-action lawsuit against PG&E for allowing toxic levels of chromium to pollute the water supply in the California town of Hinkley, and the ensuing settlement was one of the largest in U.S. history.
Brockovich has worked on a number of water-safety cases since then. Given her experience in the field, she’s not at all surprised at what happened in Flint.
“I can’t keep up with where the Flints are happening,” she said. “They’re from Indiana, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, 16 cities reporting, California, Alaska, Louisiana, Virginia, New York, Navajo nation. It’s all over.”
The elevated levels of lead found in the water system of Flint has created an uproar across the country, and has sparked a national conversation about water safety systems not just in Michigan, but across the country.