Flint residents have even fewer options now that state has discontinued bottled water distribution opinion thenewsherald.com

Flint’s children have tested positive for lead in their blood. There were 12 fatal cases of Legionnaires’ disease. As a few years ago, 47 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported. The effect of lead poisoning takes years to flare so sadly, that figure will continue to increase.

Meanwhile, the state has allocated $4 million as a part of a settlement from a class-action suit that will cover screening for disabilities on the children who were exposed to lead during the 18 months state officials covered up the lead contamination.

In 2010, the Karegnondi Water Authority heads the $270 million project to provide water to Genesee, Lapeer and Sanilac counties. The water is to reach these counties through the construction of pipelines and pumping stations.

In November 2011, Michael Brown is appointed by Snyder as emergency manager to the city of Flint to “rescue” the debt ridden city. He was one of four managers appointed by Snyder to oversee and control the finances of the city of Flint.

In 2013, in front of a council meeting, State Treasurer Andy Dillon and Snyder Chief of Staff Dennis Muchmore discuss alternative ways to get water to the citizens of Flint. A 7-1 vote is executed in favor of purchasing water from KWA. Pipelines and pumping stations were not ready at this time, so alternative methods were discussed.

At this time, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department issues a statement that this plan is not cost viable. At this time, Dillon authorizes Ed Kurtz (the next in line emergency manager) to go ahead and begin negotiations with KWA. The Detroit Water and Sewage Department offers alternative ways to provide Flint residents with safe water. However, Kurtz negates the offer and Kurtz and Jeffrey Wright (Genesee County’s drain commissioner) claim that this was not a cost viable plans.

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department sends out notice that their services will be terminated in April 2014. Flint needed to find an alternative method of water service from that time till the construction of the pipelines and pumping stations from KWA are completed in 2016.

The construction job from KWA to serve Flint begins in 2013. Kurtz approves the hire of engineering firm Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam to begin using water from the Flint River to provide drinking water to Flint residents. An all-day meeting was held between city, county and state officials to discuss this alternate method. The end result of this meeting was an approval of a permit for improvement of the Flint Water Treatment Plan in 2014.

An advisory to boil water is issued in August 2014. Coliform bacteria are found in the water a month later. Officials re-issue the water advisory. A month later, General Motors announces it is pulling its plant off Flint water after rust spots turn up in new machine parts.

In January 2015, months after Flint residents had been utilizing this new water source, the city warns its residents that an amount that exceeds the safe limit of trihalomethanes (known to cause liver and kidney problems) had been found in their drinking water supply. A water warning is issued.

At the same time, the University of Michigan-Flint tests its water and finds unacceptable levels of lead in water from drinking fountains. During this same time, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department offers to reestablish its connection to Flint’s water system and the city of Flint under the directive of Darnell Early (the latest Snyder appointee) reject the offer claiming the cost is too great.

Residents protest at a city meeting. Snyder starts funding to improve water quality. Reports of illnesses resulting from water consumption are made by Flint residents. Leann Walters, whose son became ill from drinking the water, contacts the EPA who conducts test and finds the water’s lead levels alarming. DEQ’s Stephen Bush negates the findings claiming that the water has an optimum corrosion-controlled program.

Gerald Ambrose, the new emergency manager in March 2015, is advised by city officials to spend $50,000 to correct the corrosion issue that is making the drinking water brown. Reports of Legionnaires’ disease increases in Genesee County. DEQ indicates to the EPA that Flint has no corrosion control in place, but that it’s monitoring this. The EPA indicates that this is a major health concern.

Walters meets with Snyder’s officials in August 2015). Virginia Tech begins research of the water. DEQ negates Virginia Tech’s findings. Officials from Flint claim they never received memos from the EPA although four of them were cc’d in emails from the EPA regarding concerns and findings. High levels of lead are found in the blood of Flint’s children.

Finally, in September 2015, a lead warning is issued. A month later, a public health emergency is declared. Snyder is still claiming the water is safe to drink and blames home plumbing for the lead issues. Finally, his office decides to reconnect with Detroit Water and Sewage Department in October 2015. Snyder signs a bill to fund the switch back.

A state of emergency was declared for Genesee County in January 2016. The usage of water filters or the use of bottled water is advised. National Guard comes in to help with the distribution of water. (Nine deaths of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in this area since 2014.) Snyder asks for federal relief.

An investigation is opened by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. In January 2016, Snyder concedes that his administration did a poor job conducting this. He also promises to release all e-mails connected to the Flint water crisis. E-mails are released. EPA takes over water testing. DEQ finds the authority of EPA to be questionable. Findings indicate that 70 percent of the people who developed Legionnaires’ disease were exposed to Flint’s water for two weeks.

In January 2017, Republicans denied a subpoena to force Snyder to fork over more documents related to the Flint water crisis. That same month, a $722 million class action lawsuit was filed against the EPA on behalf of 1,700 Flint residents affected by the poisoned water. In March, a Michigan federal judge approved a $97 million settlement which will help cover the replacement of piping to 18,000 Flint households.

In 2017, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office charged several state officials with manslaughter for the death of Flint residents as a result of consuming lead poisoned water. Snyder supports two of those charged – Director Rick Lyons and Dr. Eden Wells – by keeping them at their positions.