The Flint Water Crisis: A Narrative with Administrative Recommendations*

Main Article Content

Zachary Bowen


The Flint Water Crisis is a true governmental failure, defined by environmental safeguards left ignored and systemic breakdowns at all levels of regulatory intervention. Though the water itself is certainly the catalyst of this disaster the current state of Flint, Michigan also highlights many of the serious challenges facing American cities today. The story of Flint illuminates the tenuous state of urban infrastructure in America, the financial stress of city management, and the sociocultural and economic hardships of urban minorities (predominantly African Americans). The water crisis in Flint serves as a bleak but worthwhile case study of how urban decay, coupled with racial disenfranchisement, can often result in toxic hopelessness.


            In order to address the layers of failure brought forward by the Flint Water Crisis, this assignment proposes several administrative recommendations which would potentially remedy the current state of government affairs. On the local government level, an open government approach should be taken with regard to matters of environmental protection and public health, community building initiatives must be fostered and funded, and elected officials need to reflect the communities they represent. On the state government level, increased interagency cooperation and greater clarity of institutional role would allow for more effective communication with the general public during times of crisis. Lastly, the federal level of government would be well served by committing to a regulatory overhaul of the Environmental Protection Agency, which fails to function properly as currently constituted.





Key words: Flint, water, crisis, administrative, EPA, recommendations

Article Details

Public Administration
Author Biography

Zachary Bowen, Villanova University - MPA Program

Zachary Bowen is a third year graduate student in the Department of Public Administration. He received a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY College at Cortland in Adolescent Education and History (cum laude, 2010) as well as a Master of Arts from Providence College in History (2012). His areas of interest and expertise include: history of the early American Republic through the Age of Jackson, urban history, education management, city planning, and historic preservation. He is currently an athletic coach in the Radnor Township School District. He would like to thank Dr. Catherine Wilson for her compassionate guidance and editorial skill and his wife, Julie, for her love and unending support.