Sunday, January 24, 2016

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's negligence in the Flint water crisis

Michigan flag on the left
While the ultimate responsibility for the Flint water debacle belongs to Governor Rick Snyder--he appointed the emergency manager of the essentially-bankrupt town, that doesn't mean others are blameless.

It was not Snyder, a Republican, who made the decision not to add an anti-corrosive to Flint's drinking water--which would have cost $150 a day.

Let me introduce you to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

From a Detroit News op-ed:
The second breach was the almost stubbornly negligent and mind-bogglingly bureaucratic response to resident complaints about the water. When the first glass of brown water was drawn from the tap, the MEDQ should have gone into crisis mode. Instead, its staffers kept insisting the nasty looking and smelling stuff was safe to use.

Even after the first hints came of elevated lead in Flint children, the MEDQ and the state Health Department reacted defensively. With a disaster unfolding, they stuck to the standard procedure for testing, and struggled to interpret Environmental Protection Agency rules for lead and copper in water.

The EPA also failed to raise appropriate alarms when it became aware of the contamination.

New MDEQ Director Keith Creagh says at worst the bad water should have been detected after six months. But it kept flowing for another eight. The MDEQ failed to act even after General Motors Corp. in October of 2014 stopped using Flint water at its local facilities because it was damaging metal parts.
Related post:

Michael Moore says Flint water crisis is intentional

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