Category: Flint Water Crisis

Nine Former Michigan Officials, Including Ex-Gov. Rick Snyder, Charged in Flint Water Crisis

Read the full story from PBS.

It was a moment many in Flint, Michigan, feared would never come.

More than six years after residents learned they had been exposed to lead-contaminated drinking water and a deadly disease outbreak, top leadership in the state and city at the time have been indicted on criminal charges in connection with their role in the crisis.

The sweeping criminal cases announced Thursday include Rick Snyder, the former Republican governor; Snyder’s top aide and his chief of staff; as well as both the state’s top doctor and health official during the crisis, who face the most severe charges: nine counts of involuntary manslaughter each, as well as official misconduct and neglect of duty for “grossly negligent performance.”

Years After Flint Water Crisis, Lead Lingers in School Buildings

Read the full story at Great Lakes Now.

The federal appropriations bill for the 2021 fiscal year, signed into law this week, included $26.5 million to test for lead in schools and child care centers, a nod to the legacy of the Flint water crisis, which lifted the issue of lead in drinking water into the national spotlight.

The bill was signed a week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency introduced new requirements for water utilities to test water in elementary schools and day cares for lead.

The Flint crisis spurred a national conversation on the dangers of exposing children to lead. “It really alters the entire life-course trajectory of a child,” Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint pediatrician, told Circle of Blue. Hanna-Attisha’s research helped uncover the extent of the city’s lead contamination, revealing elevated lead levels in the blood of children who ingested drinking water supplied from the Flint River.

Flint’s water is now being mended and its lead pipes are nearly all replaced. But the toxic metal still lingers elsewhere. A 2019 report from Environment America, a national network of environmental groups, showed elevated lead levels in the water systems of schools across the country.

Michigan plans to charge ex-Gov. Snyder in Flint water probe

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water scandal, which devastated the majority Black city with lead-contaminated water and was blamed for a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, The Associated Press has learned.

Most of $600 Million Settlement in Flint Water Crisis Will Go to Children

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Since contaminated water began running from taps in Flint six years ago, perhaps the biggest worry was the lasting effect on the Michigan city’s 25,000 children.

Along with skin rashes and illnesses, some children showed elevated levels of lead in their blood, raising the alarming prospect of irreversible damage to their developing brains. In the schools, requests for special education or behavioral interventions began rising.

As the state of Michigan on Thursday announced a $600 million settlement for the victims of the water crisis that upended Flint, the deal was another reminder of the damage and debt to thousands of children: Almost 80 percent of the settlement will go to people who were younger than 18 during the crisis, the officials said, and much of that will go to those who were younger than 7.

OmniSci Powers New Website Enabling Public to View House-by-House Information On Flint Water Crisis

Read the press release.

OmniSci, the pioneer in accelerated analytics, working in close partnership with water infrastructure analytics consulting company BlueConduit, today announced the debut of Flint Service Line Map, a public website that maps up-to-date information about residential water service line replacements in the city of Flint, Michigan. These water service lines are the pipes that deliver each home their water. If the pipes are made of lead, they can contaminate that home’s water with lead. The problem: Flint, like most other cities, did not know exactly which pipes were lead. Presented in house-by-house detail, the map allows residents to easily find out about their known or likely water service line material, along with repair dates and other useful information.

Flint’s Children Suffer in Class After Years of Drinking the Lead-Poisoned Water

Read the full story in the New York Times.

The city’s schools, stretched even before the lead crisis, are struggling with demands for individualized education programs and behavioral interventions for children with high lead exposure.

EXCLUSIVE: Before Flint’s Water Crisis, One Man Warned That “People Are Gonna Die”

Read the full story from Frontline. The full documentary airs Tuesday, September 10.

After the state of Michigan switched Flint’s water supply in April 2014, thousands of children were poisoned by lead and at least a dozen adults died from one of the largest outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in U.S. history.

It was exactly the sort of outcome that Matt McFarland, the operations supervisor at the water treatment plant, had tried to sound the alarm about, a new FRONTLINE documentary exclusively reveals.

Flint hears from prosecutors who dropped water charges

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Prosecutors who dropped charges against eight people in the Flint water scandal explained their decision in a public forum Friday night, telling frustrated, shocked and saddened residents they must look at hundreds of mobile devices and millions of documents that a previous investigative team never reviewed.

New Study Guide Enables Educators to Teach the Lessons of Flint

“Here’s to Flint.”

With that line, the city of Flint officially shut off the water flowing from Detroit and shifted to pulling its drinking water from the Flint River. The date was April 25, 2014.

Five years later, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights has released a new study guide designed to help educators teach the lessons of the Flint water crisis. The study guide is free and available online at www.michigan.gov/mdcr.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission report on the crisis, released in February 2017, found that systemic racism lay below the surface of that decision, influencing and informing the actions, the responses and ultimately the crisis itself. “The Flint Water Crisis: Systemic Racism Through the Lens of Flint,” details the legacy and impact of a century of racial animus and segregation in Flint that led to the crisis.

“As the adage goes, those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it,” said MDCR Director Agustin V. Arbulu. “Flint is an example of history’s repetition and provides us with a powerful opportunity to examine how the legacy of racial discrimination continues to unconsciously undermine decisions and produce and reproduce unintended consequences. This study guide serves as a tool to facilitate the important conversations that will help us understand the past and move us to designing and implementing policies that deliberately disrupt disparate and discriminatory outcomes.”

The study guide provides a glossary of terms as well as questions to assist citizens – young and old – in creating dialogs connecting the past and the present.

“Our hope is that this study guide, used in conjunction with the Commission’s Flint water crisis report, will help to promote reflection and introspection on the ways history and culture shape policies, practices and procedures,” said MDCR Equity Officer Alfredo Hernandez. “This study guide is part history lesson, part civic lesson, but primarily a critical thinking tool designed to guide deeper exploration on how the past continues to impact the present and the future.”

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to safeguard constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights serves as the operational arm of the Commission.

MDEQ Awards $140 Million in Water Infrastructure Project Loans to Flint, East Lansing, and Monroe County

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is providing nearly $140 million in loans to fund three municipal water and sewer projects to address infrastructure needs and ensure long‑term water quality. The loans include nearly $80 million in principal loan forgiveness to provide affordability assistance, implement green practices, and continue to support efforts in Flint.

The 21st Century Infrastructure Commission has reported that there is an $800 million annual gap in funding water-related infrastructure needs. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) provides an opportunity to help narrow that gap through low-interest loan financing for wastewater and stormwater improvements.

The SRF was established in 1988 and has since provided low-interest loans totaling $4.85 billion for 591 projects in Michigan. A portion of the SRF is provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency through capitalization grants.

In addition, the federal Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN) authorizes funding to states in which the President has declared an emergency related to public health threats associated with the presence of lead or other contaminants in drinking water.

Two communities will receive assistance through the SRF program, including:

  • City of East Lansing – A $51.7 million loan that includes $2.1 million in principal forgiveness funds for collection system improvements, a new pump station, and upgrades to the Water Resource Recovery Facility. The estimated completion date for the project is January 1, 2021.
  • Monroe County (on behalf of Bedford Township) – A $10.2 million loan for upgrades and repairs at the Bedford Township Wastewater Treatment Plant. The funds will support three pump stations, as well as the rehabilitation of 24,300 lineal feet of sewer pipes and 83 manholes. This is the second of two loans for this two-segment project. The estimated completion date for the project is October 2, 2021.

WIIN loan assistance will be provided to:

  • City of Flint – $77.7 million in loan assistance at a zero percent interest rate with 100-percent principal loan forgiveness. The loan will fund the completion of a secondary water source pipeline, Dort Street and Cedar Street Reservoir and Pump Station improvements, construction of a chemical feed building, replacement of the Northwest transmission main, water main and water meter replacement, water quality monitoring panels, and contingency service line replacement funding. These projects will enhance the water distribution system by ensuring long-term compliance and protection of public health.

The MDEQ is committed to partnering with local communities and various stakeholders to support ongoing efforts to close the gap on water infrastructure funding, which is necessary to ensure long-term water quality.

For more information on the SRF loan program visit, Michigan.gov/CleanWaterRevolvingFund.

For more information on Michigan WIIN funding in Fiscal Year 2019, visit

www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-dwmad-mfs-DWRF-DWsupiup2019_630073_7.pdf.

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