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Flint water crisis

Scroll through all of our coverage of the Flint water crisis below. And you can find our special series Not Safe to Drink here.

The Flint River is 142 miles long and flows through five counties.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In Flint, Michigan, hundreds of people have filed lawsuits over that city's lead water crisis. They're seeking damages that range from property value losses to brain damage in kids. 

Most of the lawsuits have been consolidated into one massive case. Thursday, a federal district judge in Ann Arbor ordered all the parties into mediation.

That could conceivably get money to victims much faster. 

One of the plaintiffs is 72-year-old Elnora Carthan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

One of the Flint residents to first sound the alarm about the city’s water problems testified today that state environmental officials refused to listen.

Lee Anne Walters testified against Department of Environmental Quality officials charged with various crimes related to the Flint water crisis.  

Flint water plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Court of Appeals is weighing legal arguments which may determine if a class action lawsuit against the state concerning the Flint water crisis may go forward.

The lawsuit is seeking damages from the state for Flint residents affected by decisions that created the city’s tap water problems. It’s one of many lawsuits related to the water crisis.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The government's chief prosecutor in the Flint water crisis criminal case suggests top officials pressured state employees to switch Flint’s water source before the city was ready to treat it.

Special Counsel Todd Flood says he plans to call two dozen witnesses this month for the preliminary hearing for four current and former Department of Environmental Quality staffers. The four face a variety of charges related to the Flint crisis.

Courtesy of Carma Lewis

Today marks two years since Governor Rick Snyder declared a ‘state of emergency’ in Flint because of lead contamination in the city's water.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reported that water quality has improved since the city switched back to Detroit system after using the Flint River, whose improperly treated water corroded pipes. The city has also seen almost 6,000 lead lines replaced. That’s around a third of the number to be replaced.

But there’s still a lot of confusion among Flint residents. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s been two years since Governor Rick Snyder followed the lead of local officials and declared a state of emergency in Flint.

Officials say progress is being made.

Bilal Tawwab, Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of Flint's public schools says he wants the state to agree to a comprehensive plan to monitor water in district schools.

Flint school buildings had some of the highest lead levels in their tap water when the city’s water crisis began, but little testing has taken place since.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint water crisis criminal process is set to resume after taking a break for the holidays.

State health department director Nick Lyon is due to return to court next week. For the past several months, a series of witnesses have testified about how the health department under Lyon was slow to publicly reveal a deadly Legionnaires disease outbreak in Genesee County.  Lyon is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with that outbreak.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint's mayor says city employees are focused first and foremost on replacing lead water pipes but are also working to provide status reports required under a legal settlement.

Karen Weaver issued a statement Thursday in response to plaintiffs asking a federal judge to intervene because they say Flint hasn't been sharing information, as it agreed to do.

Weaver says no one wants to get the lead out of Flint more than her.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit claim the city of Flint is not abiding by the terms of an agreement that opened the door to nearly $100 million in funding for the city's water crisis recovery efforts. 

Earlier this year, a group of Flint residents and advocacy groups reached a settlement with the city and the state of Michigan over replacing thousands of damaged lead pipes. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new study may ease some of the concern among Flint parents about the future of their children exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water. 

Flint children who've tested with high blood lead levels from their drinking water may experience learning problems as they age. Some scientific research, in particular a 2008 University of Cincinnati study, suggests the children may also be prone to criminal behavior later in life. 

However, new research refutes that. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting next month, Flint’s first city-organized youth basketball league in 15 years will tip off.

Sean Croudy, the city’s director of community recreation, says the program will fill a void in after-school programs for 8- to 17-year-olds. Croudy adds it’s not just about playing basketball.

“Teamwork, build self-esteem,” says Croudy. “A lot of learning opportunities.”

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says promoting sports is also an important part of helping Flint kids exposed to high lead levels in the city’s tap water.

Senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry joins Morning Edition host Doug Tribou to reflect on the major stories of 2017: 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new early childhood education center in Flint is intended to help children exposed to the worst of the city’s lead-tainted water.

“These nook areas are going to be further developed to be interactive,” Educare Flint Director Denise Smith said as she led a tour of the new $15 million facility.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor says a top aide to Governor Snyder is willing to wait for more information before considering cutting funding for bottled water distribution in her city.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality is vowing to strengthen lead-in-water rules because of the Flint water crisis. At a public meeting in Lansing Wednesday night, state regulators said they cannot wait on the federal government to finish its own version of the new rules.

According to a report by Buzzfeed, in 2015 U.S. Representative John Conyers settled a claim made by a female employee in his office who said she was fired because she resisted Conyers' sexual advances. Conyers said he "vehemently" denies the allegations. 

Senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry joins Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou to discuss the allegations and what they mean for Conyers' legacy.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Last night, the Flint city council voted five to four to approve a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority.

The contract to provide Flint with drinking water has been held up since April by city council members worried about rising water bills under the deal. But most of those councilmen lost their seats in this month’s election.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After years of construction, water from Lake Huron soon will begin flowing into Genesee County through the KWA pipeline.

The Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline was completed last year. But testing and permitting, as well as construction of a new water treatment plant, have delayed water flowing through the pipeline. Until now.

The Flint water treatment plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is on the verge of moving ahead with a 30-year drinking water contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority, under an agreement hashed out in federal court Monday.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says Flint needs to choose a long-term water supplier to move ahead with a lawsuit settlement reached earlier this year. The $97 million settlement lays out a series of measures to mitigate lasting effects of Flint’s water crisis, such as removing the city’s lead service lines.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed a top state official criminally charged in the Flint water crisis investigation to head a new council tasked with improving Michigan’s response to emerging public health threats.

Dr. Eden Wells is Michgan’s chief medical executive.   

Wells will be in court tomorrow for a hearing on charges of obstruction of justice and lying to an officer in connection to the Flint water crisis. Prosecutors say an additional charge of involuntary manslaughter will also likely be added.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials will try again tomorrow to decide whether to approve a new water contract.

But a federal judge may take that decision away from them.

The Flint city council met for three long days last week, examining the proposed 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority. They will gather again at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

The contract has been on the table since April. Flint city council members balked at signing the contract out of concern that it could result in higher water rates.  

But five of nine council members lost their seats this month’s election.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Wayne State University professor testified today that the state health department director worried a study of a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak would upset the public.

At least a dozen people died during the outbreak from 2014 to 2015 in Genesee County.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major obstacle to Flint’s recovery from its drinking water crisis has been removed.

The city of Flint has been hobbled in its efforts to remain on its aging water system by its inability to repay more than $20 million borrowed from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF).  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge is considering whether to allow testimony that could link state health director Nick Lyon to an effort to limit a study into a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

Lyon is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office.  

Wayne State University environmental engineering professor Shawn McElmurry was part of a team studying the legionella outbreak in Genesee County from 2014 through 2015.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A top city official admits there has been a “learning curve” after the city of Flint took over bottled water distribution from the state two months ago.

Flint distributes more than 65,000 cases of bottled water a week, comparable to what the state was doing before it handed the job over to the city in September. The city is working with local churches, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and United Way of Genesee County to manage the water distribution program.  

Flint City Clerk Inez Brown administers the oath of office to the new Flint city council members.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“I do solemnly swear,” intoned City Clerk Inez Brown, as she led the nine members of the Flint city council through their oath of office.

The new city council were sworn in today at noon. Five of the nine council members are new to the job.  Last week, Flint voters ousted a majority of incumbents from the panel.   

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver suggests voters wanted the new blood on the council to move beyond old arguments.

A table filled with bottles of Flint water (both clear and brown)
Flint Water Study / Facebook

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a spending bill that includes more money to prosecute members of his administration for their roles in the Flint water crisis.

The $600,000 will go to state Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office. State Health and Human Services Department Director Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells are among those charged.

“It is paying for prosecutions," said Andrea Bitely with the attorney general’s office. "It is paying for expert witness fees. It is paying for travel expenses. It is paying for any number of things.”       

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A top state health department official listened as a county health department worker testified in court Tuesday about state agencies blocking a Legionnaires Disease outbreak investigation. 

James Henry testified he started working on Flint’s water problems on his first day at the Genesee County Health Department in the fall of 2014. The outbreak killed at least 12 people from 2014 through the end of 2015. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Testifying in court today, the daughter of a man who died of Legionnaires' disease in 2015 testified she was not made aware of a deadly outbreak that was underway in Genesee County at the time.

Mary Anne Tribble says her elderly father led an active life, despite some health issues. But his health deteriorated quickly in June of 2015, following a trip to Flint’s McLaren Hospital. Tribble says she and other family members were with him when he died.

“That’s when we found out he had Legionella,” Tribble told the judge.

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