Not Safe to Drink

What would you do if your tap water turned brown? If it gave your children a rash every time they took a bath? Or worse, what if it made them sick? Read, watch, and listen to the stories below to uncover the wild story about how the water in Flint became Not Safe To Drink. And you can find ALL of our coverage of the Flint Water Crisis here.

On Thursday, Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith took to Twitter with Reveal to answer your questions about the Flint water crisis. 

If you missed the Q&A with Smith, who produced the documentary Not Safe to Drink, catch up here: 

The Flint River and the Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency launched a federal audit -- Governor Rick Snyder appointed a panel to look into it -- and there is a federal class action lawsuit underway.

Everyone wants to know how the water went bad in one of Michigan's biggest cities.

On April 25, 2014, Flint officials toasted each other as they flipped the switch to the Flint River.
WNEM-TV

I don’t blame the governor’s press secretary for not understanding exactly who made the decision to have Flint pump its drinking water from the Flint River. It was a complicated decision making process with multiple key players that lasted at least a few months.

Back in the spring of 2013, when this decision was made, Governor Rick Snyder’s press secretary, Dave Murray, was one of “us”; a journalist working for The Grand Rapids Press/MLive.

The MacIntyre family took photos of how Flint's water crisis affected their day to day lives. From left: Sean, Ian, Laura, Evan and Broghan.
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

As Flint's water crisis unfolded, there was a lot of news about decisions made by top level officials.

The people of Flint protest the state and city's handling of the water crisis.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

If you missed parts 1 or 2 of Not Safe to Drink, you can find them here.

Back in September, research scientists from Virginia Tech came to Flint to break some bad news.

Their tests showed high levels of lead in people’s tap water. Lead is especially harmful for young children.

Clockwise top left: Lee Anne Walters with her son Garrett, the Flint River, Marc Edwards, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha - Flint EMs Darnell Earley, Jerry Ambrose, Ed Kurtz, and Mike Brown. Center - water at the Flint Treatment Plant.
Steve Carmody, Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

What would you do if your tap water turned brown? If it gave your children a rash every time they took a bath? Or worse, what if it made them sick? Listen to our special documentary below, and hear the wild story about how the water in Flint became Not Safe To Drink.

A Flint water meeting in January 2015.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

If you missed part one of Not Safe to Drink, you can hear it here.

The tap water in Lee Anne Walters’ home in Flint was causing her family’s health problems. Tests show her water had extremely high lead levels. Her son Gavin was diagnosed with lead poisoning.

“How does this happen in the United States?” she asks. “I mean, you hear about it in third world countries, but how does this happen, specifically in a state that is surrounded by the Great Lakes?”

Lee Anne Walters with her son Garrett outside of her home in Flint.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Up until October, the Walters family lived in a yellow two-story home on the south side of Flint. A couple of red maple trees shade the tiny front yard.

Walters heads to the back of the house, in a small room off of the kitchen, where the family keeps its stockpile of bottled water.

“This is our water stash. Once a week we go and we fill 40 gallons of water, so we have water to drink with, to cook with, and to bathe Gavin and Garrett in,” says Lee Anne Walters.