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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.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder opened a conference on water infrastructure by pointing to Flint’s water crisis as a “warning signal.”

More than 300 water quality experts and water system vendors are in Flint for this week’s conference. The city’s lead-tainted tap water crisis has spurred concern about aging water systems across the country. 

In his keynote address, Gov. Snyder says Flint is not the only bellwether for infrastructure problems.

Lead service line
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

What can America learn from Flint's water disaster? That's the question at the heart of a national Water Infrastructure Conference starting today in Flint.

Retired National Guard Brigadier General Mike McDaniel is one of the speakers at the conference. He is director of Flint’s FAST Start program, which aims to remove all of the city’s lead service lines over the next few years.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of experts and vendors will be in Flint this week to talk about the nation’s problems with aging municipal water systems.  

Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will open the three-day Flint Water Infrastructure Conference on Tuesday.   

Flint’s lead tainted water crisis has raised awareness of problems in municipal water systems around the world.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Mayor Karen Weaver has told the Environmental Protection Agency that more corrosion control studies have to be done and Flint will need more than two years before the city can begin to supply its own water.

The Flint Journal reports  that the plan and a letter from Weaver were filed Wednesday with the EPA.

Extensive work, including chemical mixing and filtration, also is needed at the city's water treatment plant.

downtown Flint street
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Starting today, people in Flint will be paying more for their tap water.     

That’s because it’s no longer being subsidized by the state. The move comes as many Flint residents fear and complain that their tap water is still not safe to drink.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint residents will lose a state subsidy on their monthly water bills.

The state has spent more than $40 million subsidizing Flint’s water bills, as part of the response to the city’s lead-tainted tap water crisis. However, the governor’s office says the credits are ending this month because Flint’s water quality is improving.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is once again criticizing the Snyder administration’s decision to end the state subsidy on city water bills.

The state has spent more than $40 million subsidizing Flint’s water bills.  

But the governor’s office says the credits are ending this month because Flint’s water quality is improving. 

Weaver says she wants to hold the state “accountable” to promises to help Flint through its water crisis.

“I think we deserve the credits until the water is ‘tap drinkable’ without a filter,” says Weaver.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state will stop subsidizing Flint water bills this month.

When will the state stop distributing bottled water? 

People in Flint still make daily or weekly trips to the city’s water distribution sites to pick up cases of bottled water. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she’s heard discussions of ending bottled water distribution by September, which she says is too soon. 

“We know we still need bottled water,” says Weaver, “If we still need to use filters, we still need bottled water as well.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Nearly a year after Governor Snyder first proposed it, a package of bills addressing lead in Michigan’s drinking water should soon be in the hands of state lawmakers.

Gov. Rick Snyder has repeatedly faulted the federal lead/copper rule and how it’s been interpreted for helping to create Flint’s lead tainted tap water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is out with a report on the Flint water crisis that its authors intend will ensure that “another Flint does not happen again."

Commission chair Arthur Horwitz thanked Flint residents for sharing their stories during their year-long investigation.

“At a time when you placed  trust in virtually no government entity, you looked at this commission and department … and provided us with an opportunity to earn your trust,” says Horwitz.

People in Flint waiting in line for water filters.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For more than a year, Flint residents have been told to use filters on their taps to screen lead from their drinking water. Filters on kitchen faucets are as much a part of everyday life in Flint as bottled water. Specialized filters were one of the first responses to Flint’s lead tainted tap water crisis.  

However, state officials and others are changing their message on filters.

Even just a few months ago, they were still strongly urging their use.

Now, it’s more of a mild suggestion.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Researchers say new data suggests a potential link between Flint’s switching its drinking water source in 2014 and a deadly Legionnaires Disease outbreak.

Laura and Sean MacIntyre
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

People in Flint who have been getting the state to help pay their water bills appear to be losing that help.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver met with Governor Snyder on Tuesday. She was unable to get him to budge from the decision to put an early end to the state-funded subsidy program that helped people pay for the water they can't safely drink without a filter.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she felt “anger and disappointment” after a meeting with the governor this week, where he rejected her request to continue state credits on city water bills.

The state has spent $40 million on a credit on Flint water bills during the past 12 months.  The credits were for water that didn’t meet federal quality standards.  

However, Gov. Snyder says Flint’s water quality is now comparable to other communities.  The governor’s office says “residents don’t ‘have’ to use a filter,” though it is recommended in areas where pipes are being replaced.

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Plenty of attention has been paid to the human toll of the Flint water crisis and the city's efforts to recover. But what about the business side of things and the city's effort to rebuild the economy?

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will discuss what’s next for her city, now that the governor has refused to restart state credits on Flint water bills.

Gov. Rick Snyder met with Mayor Weaver Tuesday afternoon.  Snyder described the meeting as “constructive," but the governor is not budging on the decision to end state credits on city tax bills.

McLaren Hospital in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State health department officials are ordering McLaren Hospital in Flint to comply with new recommendations stemming from a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak. 

A majority of the people who got sick and died during the Legionnaires' outbreak from 2014 to 2015 were patients at McLaren.

As part of its order, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services cites a document from a contractor hired by McLaren to test the hospital’s internal water system.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents are worried the burden of fixing their broken water system is once again falling on them.

Chanting “We don’t pay for poison water,” dozens of Flint residents filled the lobby at city hall to protest looming water shutoffs of people who haven’t been paying their water and sewer bills.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is stopping a pair of financial lifelines that helped Flint residents through the city’s water crisis.

A year ago, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation reimbursing Flint residents who were charged for water they could not safely drink. The money has been critical to city efforts to encourage Flint residents to run water through their taps in hopes of facilitating efforts to heal the damage done by improperly treated Flint River water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder included tens of millions of dollars to help fix the Flint water crisis in his proposed budget.

Nearly $49 million of the governor’s $56 billion dollar budget blueprint would go toward funding programs aiding in Flint’s recovery. Money is earmarked for early childhood and other health related programs.

The governor says the funding will help continue many programs already in place. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Despite efforts to reduce lead levels in Flint’s tap water, some homes continue to test with levels far above the federal action level.  

But a consultant may soon recommend a simple response.

The Flint Water Treatment Plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. - A consultant says the cost of upgrading Flint's water treatment plant is estimated at $108 million, up slightly from an earlier estimate.

The Flint Journal says the recent report by engineering and construction company, CDM Smith, includes $37 million for the construction of two, 21-million gallon water storage tanks and more than $34 million for pump and transfer station upgrades.

A December draft report put the cost at $105 million.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Today, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit related to the Flint water crisis. 

The suit named Governor Rick Snyder, Flint’s former emergency managers, other state and local officials, as well as the state of Michigan and the city of Flint. Specific monetary damages were not included.

The lawsuit sought damages under federal civil rights law. However, U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara ruled that the Safe Drinking Water Act superseded that law in the case of Flint’s lead-tainted tap water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The latest Flint water crisis lawsuit targets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The suit was filed Monday in federal court in Detroit.

The lawsuit claims “despite notice of the danger as early as October 2014, the EPA failed to take the mandatory steps to determine that Michigan and Flint authorities were not taking appropriate action to protect the public from toxic water."

Courtesy of the Broad Art Museum

A project facilitated by Chicago-based artist Jan Tichy brought high school English students in Flint together with high school art students in Lansing to depict life in Flint without safe water.

The project culminates in an installation at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and a book filled with student work called Beyond Streaming. The installation invites visitors to open the nozzles of floor-to-ceiling copper pipes. Sounds and original poems recorded by the students will then stream out of the pipes.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Every year, the EPA awards over $4 billion in grants and other means of assistance.

Within hours of President Trump taking the oath of office, an email went out to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials ordering them to freeze all contract and grant awards, effective immediately.

That leaves many wondering how that could affect federal aid to Flint, especially as the U.S. Senate approved $170 million to address the lead in Flint’s drinking water last month.

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

A federal lawsuit over the state’s response to the Flint water crisis was back in court Tuesday, for arguments over whether the state has ignored a judge’s order to ensure Flint residents have access to safe drinking water.

In November, Judge David Lawson issued an injunction ordering the state to do two things: verify that all Flint households have properly-installed water filters; or, in cases where that’s not possible, deliver bottled water. The state wants that order dismissed.

“You are our last hope,” Flint resident Tony Palladino told the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission report on the Flint water crisis will likely not recommend a lawsuit to seek remediation for people affected by the city’s lead-tainted tap water.

The commissioners received a draft report yesterday. The final report will not be made public until next month.

The commission held three public hearings in Flint in 2016, taking testimony from city residents and others. Beyond the water crisis, the panel also examined Flint’s housing and other issues.

Laura and Sean MacIntyre
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Today, government officials and independent researchers say the drinking water in Flint is much improved.

But the MacIntyres, like many families in Flint, are not convinced.

A kitchen sink in Flint with a point-of-use water filter.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

In Flint, experts are warning that one potential solution to the city’s lead-tainted tap water has some serious potential downsides.

Whole house filters cleanse water of impurities and chemicals. Groups have been promoting their use in Flint to screen out lead. A company gave a presentation to the city council just a few days ago.

But experts say the filters have a downside.

Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha helped raised the alarm about lead in Flint’s tap water. She says ‘whole-house’ filters don’t screen out lead that leaches from pipes and filters inside the home.

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