When the Water Turned Brown – The New York Times

At their home in Flint, Mich., Isaiah Loren, left, used baby wipes to clean a cut while his brother Jeremiah and he got ready for school. CreditBrittany Greeson for The New York Times

As every major decision was made over more than a year, officials at all levels of government acted in ways that contributed to the public health emergency in Flint, Mich.

Already this month, federal and state investigations have been announced, National Guard troops were distributing thousands of bottles of water and filters, and Mr. Snyder was calling for millions in state dollars to fix a situation he acknowledged was a “catastrophe.”

Yet interviews, documents and emails show that as every major decision was made over more than a year, officials at all levels of government acted in ways that contributed to the public health emergency and allowed it to persist for months. The government continued on its harmful course even after lead levels were found to be rising, and after pointed, detailed warnings came from a federal water expert, a Virginia Tech researcher and others.

For more than a year after an emergency manager — appointed by Mr. Snyder to oversee the city — approved a switch from the Detroit system to water from the Flint River to save money, workers assigned to manage the city’s water system failed to lower lead risks with a simple solution: adding chemicals to prevent old pipes from corroding and leaching metals like lead. Disagreements and miscommunication between state and local officials about what federal law requires of so-called corrosion control measures further delayed fixing the problem, the documents show.

See more of the story at this source: When the Water Turned Brown – The New York Times

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