EPA Regional Director resigns over Flint water crisis

News comes the same day the agency's chief issued an emergency order directing state and city officials to take actions to protect public health.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Jan. 22, 2016 --The EPA said in a statement that Susan Hedman, head of the agency's regional office in Chicago whose jurisdiction includes Michigan, was stepping down Feb. 1 so it could focus "solely on the restoration of Flint's drinking water."

Since officials switched from the Detroit municipal water system and began drawing from the Flint River in April 2014, high levels of lead have been detected in the city's water.

In an emergency order EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy issued Thursday, the state notified EPA officials in April 2015 that Flint was not treating the river water with additives to prevent corrosion from pipes. It says Hedman and others in the regional EPA office voiced concern to state and city officials over the next few months. But it wasn't until Oct. 16 that EPA established a task force to provide technical help - the day Flint switched back to the Detroit water system.

The agency also released a letter from McCarthy to Snyder outlining terms of the order, which says that city and state responses to the water crisis have failed.

The agency also said it would begin sampling and analyzing lead levels and would make the results public.

More in Drinking Water