Family living through water crisis uses more than 200 bottles of - WNEM TV 5

Family living through water crisis uses more than 200 bottles of water per day

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April 25 was an infamous anniversary, not just for the city of Flint, but for all of Michigan.

It was day 731 for the Flint water crisis.

On April 25, 2014 a switch was flipped and the city began using water from its own river instead of buying it from Detroit.

The switch was supposed to be a turning point for the city, but instead it was a health emergency that affected tens of thousands of people. The crisis engulfed the Snyder administration and led to criminal charges against three people.

One year ago, a bottle of water was a luxury for the McCloud and Loren family, not they go through nearly 200 bottles every single day.

They use bottled water to prepare their food, bathe and brush their teeth. It's a glimpse of what every day family life is like during the water crisis.

Every other day the family uses baby wipes to wash their entire bodies to avoid depleting their supply of bottled water, Kenneth McCloud said.

"One pack will last us about a half a day," he said.

The daily routine is much different than it was two years ago when water flowed freely from the tap. Before everything changed and families became dependent on bottled water.

You'll find cases and cases of bottled water in every nook and cranny of the McCloud's home.

"We had to take all the pantry stuff out to make room for water," McCloud said.

On average, the family of six uses six cases or 210 bottles every single day. That's 42 cases of 1,470 bottles of water every week. In one year that's more than 76,000 bottles of water just for one home.

It may sound excessive, but this family is scared to let any part of their skin come in contact with the water from the tap.

"The irritation of the skin, the constant itching, burning of the eyes when you get out of the shower," Tammy Loren said.

She said her youngest son Jeremiah has permanent reminders of just how unsafe the water is.

"Now after the red spots went away and bumps went away, now he's scarred like this all over his body," Loren said.

The scars, and even the inconvenience of their new-found way of bottled water life, can't take away the pain a parent feels knowing their child is suffering something even more serious.

"I hit my lowest point when we all had a pow-wow and realizing everything, it hit us. My youngest son broke down crying after we read his high levels," McCloud said.

All four of their children had high levels of lead in their blood. Lead is known to profoundly affect children's growth, behavior and intelligence. It can cause violent behavior and learning disabilities over time.

"As a parent, you're helpless in a way. You don't know what to tell them," McCloud said.

The family said they know something can be done and they said it's time for that something to happen.

"We've shed so many tears, I am teared out," Loren said.

Now they are fighting together as a community and as a family.

Until every dangerous drop is flushed away and new service lines are put in place, the family is staying put, counting the days and empty bottles, until life returns to what it once was before the Flint water crisis.

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