The Flint water crisis has been an ongoing health catastrophe for Michigan residents since April 2014. The problem arose when city officials opted in for short-term cost cutting measures, in which they switched Flint’s water supply from Detroit Water and Sewage to the Flint River, which is known to be unsanitary.
Former Governor Rick Snyder was given notice on Tuesday Jan. 12,2021 that in a newly launched investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office he would face charges for his role in the water crisis. Although no specific charges have been named against the former city leader at this time, his attorney Brian Lennon stated, “It is outrageous to think any criminal charges would be filed against Governor Snyder, any charges would be meritless.”
It’s reported, at the time of the switch, officials failed to input corrosion inhibitors in piping, their failure to do so later caused lead from the old pipes to leak into the city’s water source. The negligence left more than 80,000 residents exposed to alarming levels of heavy metal neurotoxins and elevated levels of bacteria (legionellosis), causing Legionnaires disease in some residents. As complaints from city residence began to roll in about the smell, taste, and discoloration of the water, they were assured by officials that the water was safe, says CBS News.
Former Governor Rick Snyder didn’t declare Flint as being in a state of emergency until 2016, after federal officials launched their own investigation. Reportedly by then twelve people had already died and close to 100 more were sick due to the waves of Legionnaires disease that swept through the community.
The tainted water prompted a numerous number of lawsuits against the city of Flint, Michigan. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, along with Flint’s Mayor, Sheldon Neely announced a $641 million dollar preliminary settlement last Aug. for families affected. Allegedly some of the funds will be dispersed through class action lawsuits.
In 2015 Flint switched back to Detroit’s water system, which didn’t immediately end their problems of contamination, but the city is now under a 30 year contract with Great Lakes Water Authority.