A Crisis Long in Coming: Public Officials Were Aware of Lead Issues in Flint for Years

The history of potential lead issues in the City of Flint, and awareness of these issues on the part of government officials, dates back more than 20 years.

  • An assessment of the City of Flint Water Treatment Plant rehabilitation in 1998 by the Snell Engineering Group recommended "phosphates" for corrosion control.
  • In 2012 and 2013, city and state officials discussed a switch to the Flint River as the city's main water source, and how the switch would require a change in lead and copper monitoring.
  • Sanitary surveys completed at the Flint Water Treatment Plant by MDEQ's Michael Prysby reveal that in the years leading up to the switch, MDEQ's main concern was the "condition of the piping," recognizing that the system was known to be made up of approximately 80 percent lead service lines. By 2007, MDEQ deemed the City of Flint’s distribution system to be "deficient," yet these very same officials played a critical role in driving and approving the operation of the Flint Water Treatment Plant as an interim drinking water source.