On Wednesday, August 17, 2016 the Michigan attorney general filed a civil lawsuit against Veolia North America Operating Services (Veolia) in relation to the company’s work in Flint. Private parties have filed lawsuits making similar claims.
The company will vigorously defend itself against these unwarranted allegations of wrongdoing. The official report from the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, commissioned by the Governor’s office and completed after dozens of interviews, contained no reference to Veolia and assigned the company no blame or responsibility for the current crisis.
Veolia’s engagement with the city was wholly unrelated to the current lead issues. In fact, lead and copper testing were specifically not included in the company’s scope of work because the city represented that it was itself conducting required testing at the time of our analysis.
Flint hired Veolia nearly one full year after the change in water source, and the focus of Veolia’s analysis, at Flint’s direction, was only to help the city address concerns about the levels of disinfection byproducts (TTHM), discoloration, and taste-and-odor issues related to the drinking water treatment process. During our one-month consultation, the water produced and provided by Flint met the treatment standards for levels of disinfection byproducts. Veolia’s technical experts noted this in the company’s final report to Flint in March 2015 and also identified potential water quality issues. The company recommended changes in the chemicals and dosing used in the treatment process to minimize TTHM formation along with risks associated with corrosion.
The company stands by the analysis provided to Flint under a limited scope in February 2015 and will defend itself against unwarranted allegations of wrongdoing levied while the Governor’s own task force largely assigned the blame on the state of Michigan itself.