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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.

Michigan State University sign
Wikimedia Commons / public domain

Michigan State University's interim president and former Gov. John Engler has appointed an interim athletic director and said that no candidates from MSU would be considered for the permanent job. He has also ordered MSU staff to preserve anything that could be evidence for various sexual assault investigations.

flint symbol
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It has been nearly two years since the first indictments were handed down in the state's investigation into the Flint water crisis.

15 current and former state and city government officials were charged.

Read more: These are the 15 people charged for their connection to the Flint water crisis

Four of those cut plea deals. Ever since last fall, Special Counsel Todd Flood has been methodically laying out his case against the remaining eleven.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody joined Stateside to give an update on where things stand.

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Researchers have linked a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County to a switch to the Flint River for drinking water.

During the Legionnaires' disease outbreaks in 2014 and 2015, twelve people died and 79 people became sick.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials with the company hired to oversee Flint's lead pipe replacement program met with city residents Thursday night.

Last November, the city hired Los Angeles-based AECOM to oversee the project to replace thousands of lead service lines connecting homes to city water mains. The international engineering firm is being paid $5 million dollars. 

Thursday night, top executives delivered a broad outline of their plans.

Larry Nassar listens to Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina hand down his sentence of 175 years in prison.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

This week, former Michigan State University sports Dr. Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. Two top MSU officials have since resigned, and investigations into the school are stacking up.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what could be just the beginning of MSU's troubles.


Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr

A grant program to reimburse schools that test for lead in their water has been cut from the state budget.

For fiscal year 2017, the Michigan state legislature appropriated $4 million for the Department of Education program, but those funds have since lapsed. The program was defunded in the fiscal year 2018 budget due to its lack of success.

When the program ended on September 30, just over $420,000 had been awarded to schools.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Court of Appeals says a lawsuit filed by Flint residents against the state of Michigan can proceed in the Court of Claims.

The Court of Claims has a six month statute of limitations. The state of Michigan said residents failed to file their claim within six months of Flint's water being switched to Flint River water.

But the Court of Appeals says it would be unreasonable to expect residents to know they were drinking lead contaminated water, especially since the state deliberately concealed the truth for months. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

One of Flint’s former emergency managers appears ready to head to trial on charges related to the city’s water crisis.

Today, Gerald Ambrose waived a preliminary exam on the charges against him, which include conspiracy, misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty. That clears the way to send his case to trial.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Wayne State University professor testified today that state officials didn’t want information getting out about continuing problems with Flint’s drinking water.

In 2016, Dr. Shawn McElmurry led a research team, hired by the state, to investigate a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak that occurred in Genesee County in 2014 and 2015.  At least a dozen people died from the pneumonia-like illness. Scores more were hospitalized.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Michigan State University and Flint officials are kicking off a campaign to get people exposed to the city’s lead-tainted water to sign up for a special registry.

Tens of thousands of people who drank Flint tap water since 2014 have likely been exposed to lead.

The Flint Registry being launched this week is a way to connect people with resources aimed at minimizing the negative health effects of lead, as well as programs promoting wellness.

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.

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