The Stream, May 21, 2020: Two Mid-Michigan Dams Overflow, Forcing 10,000 to Evacuate

The Global Rundown

Two dams overflow in mid-Michigan, forcing 10,000 people to evacuate and threatening to leave the city of Midland under 9 feet of water. Cyclone Amphan hits eastern India and Bangladesh, killing at least five people. Some residents of Detroit, Michigan, remain without clean water despite a moratorium on shutoffs. Tampa Bay Water, the supplier for more than 2.5 million Tampa, Florida, residents, files a lawsuit against DuPont, 3M, and other chemical companies involved in PFAS contamination. Romania, Poland, and other countries in the eastern European Union face economic turmoil amid Covid-19 lockdowns and the worst dry spell in 100 years.

“A double war is taking place. It’s a war against the invisible Covid-19 and a war with the drought.” –Tuchilus, a resident of Matca, Romania, in reference to a deepening eastern European drought happening alongside Covid-19 shutdowns. Parts of Romania and Poland are experiencing their driest conditions in a century, and the Czech Republic is enduring its worst drought in 500 years. Residents of the region are concerned the dual threats will devastate the economy. Bloomberg

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By The Numbers

10,000 Michigan residents evacuated from Midland, Sanford, Edenville Township, and Dow Chemical after two dams in the center of the state, the Edenville and Sanford, failed following days of heavy rainfall. The Tittabawasse River reached its major flood stage on Tuesday afternoon and continued to rise throughout the day. As of Wednesday evening, the Edenville Dam had collapsed and the Sanford Dam was near breaching. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency for Midland County. No fatalities have been reported as of Wednesday evening. Detroit Free Press

5+ People killed in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, after Cyclone Amphan made landfall. The storm, which had wind gusts of up to 185 km per hour (115 mph), was one of the strongest to hit the area in several years. Authorities state that 2.4 million people were moved to shelters over the last few days. Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

Several Detroit residents say their water service has not been reconnected despite the city’s March moratorium on shutoffs. Under the moratorium, residents who were already disconnected could have their water turned on for a $25 reconnection fee. Many pantry customers, however, claim they were never made aware of the $25 reconnection option and continue to rely on bottled water. The Guardian

In context:
Water Shutoffs Are Suspended, But the Bills Will Still Be Due.
Voices From Detroit: Life Without Water.

On the Radar

Tampa Bay Water, which provides service to more than 2.5 million customers, has filed suit against Dupont, 3M, and other chemical companies responsible for PFAS contamination in Florida and the rest of the United States. High levels of the toxic chemicals have not been detected in the area’s water yet, but a spokesperson said the suit is a preemptive move to “protect Tampa Bay Water’s interests.” Tampa Bay Times

In context: As PFAS Lawsuits Proliferate, Legal Tactics Emerge

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