Flint residents to sue city, state over lead in drinking water

Residents of Flint, Mich., together with the ACLU of Michigan and the Natural Resources Defense Council, plan to sue state and city officials for ongoing violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act amid the city's widespread lead-contamination crisis.

Nov 17th, 2015

CHICAGO, IL and FLINT, MI, Nov. 16, 2015 -- A group of residents of Flint, Mich., together with the ACLU of Michigan and the Natural Resources Defense Council, have announced their intention to sue state and city officials for ongoing violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act amid the city's widespread lead-contamination crisis.

The plaintiffs believe a lawsuit would force officials to address what they call repeated, systemic failures to follow federal rules designed to protect the public health from dangerous levels of lead exposure.

Until April 2014, Flint got its drinking water from the city of Detroit, but switched to the Flint River while waiting for a new Lake Huron pipeline to become operational.

But the Flint River water resulted in a cascade of problems, including a spike in THM levels, and now most recently, lead levels.

A Virginia Tech report released in September revealed that 20 percent of its initial samples exceeded the EPA lead action limit of 15 ppb.

The report indicated that the city's tap water had high levels of chloride, which is corrosive to iron.

Flint's new water source, the Flint River, has about 8 times more chloride than Detroit water does.

In a separate lawsuit filed last week, a group of Flint residents are pursuing a class-action lawsuit against Gov. Rick Snyder, the State of Michigan, the City of Flint and numerous other state and Flint municipal employees for health and property damages resulting from their exposure to the city's lead-tainted water.

The complaint charges that Flint municipal and MDEQ officials unnecessarily and with deliberate indifference to the health and safety of the Flint residents exposed them to toxic public water for over 18 months.

The lawsuit also details the physical and psychological injuries experienced by several Flint residents and families exposed to the lead-tainted water. These include high levels of lead in their bloodstreams; skin lesions and hair loss; chemically-induced hypertension; autoimmune disorders; seizure-like convulsions; depression; and chronic anxiety.

Plaintiffs and all class members are seeking compensation for the physical injuries and property damages resulting from their prolonged exposure to lead-tainted city water. The lawsuit also asks that the State of Michigan undertake a wide spectrum of future corrective action, including lifetime medical monitoring for all the children injured by the tainted water.

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