Emails Reveal: As Citizens Drink Contaminated Water, Michigan Workers Drink Bottled During Crisis

Emails Reveal: As Citizens Drink Contaminated Water, Michigan Workers Drink Bottled During Crisis
General Health

A federal hearing will occur on February 3, 2016 to address the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Hopefully it will include some stark discipline for those who ignored Flint citizens’ concerns that their water was too polluted to drink. Adding even more weight to the situation in Flint, recently-released emails show that the state was working to provide bottled water to state office building employees while ignoring the citizens. [1]

Gov. Rick Snyder told the residents of Flint that the water was safe to drink for all of 2015, but the emails unearthed depict an exchange of incriminating information between two state department employees that seemed to know the water was toxic with lead well before residents did.

As the New York Times reports, the correspondence — between employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget — was obtained by a liberal advocacy group, Progress Michigan. The news was reported on Thursday by The Detroit Free Press.

Hopefully the fact that these employees were well aware that something could be wrong with the water will stand as evidence that the citizens of Flint were lied to.

Gov. Rick Snyder will not be among the witnesses called, according to a release concerning the hearing. Those who will be called are:

  • Darnell Early, former emergency manager for Flint.
  • Joel Beauvais, acting deputy assistant administrator, office of water.
  • Miguel Del Toral, researcher Region 5 Water Division.
  • Keith Creagh, director, Department of Environmental Quality state of Michigan.
  • Marc Edwards, professor of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.


Also surfacing just prior to the hearing are the allegations that Gov. Rick Snyder signed a $28 million spending bill to pay for bottled water, filters, testing kits, more school nurses, medical treatment, and unpaid water bills.

It is also possible that people beyond the Flint city limits may be at risk for contaminated water.  The city released a list of addresses outside of Flint, including Burton, which may be connected to the Flint water system.

But in all of this chaos, let us not overlook the kind actions of hundreds of people who are helping control the crisis, such as the group of 300 plumbers who went around installing water filters, or the generous water donation from a prominent Native American tribe.


[1] NY Times (Original featured image is sourced from: Jake May/The Flint, via Associated Press