Timeline of Veolia’s Flint, Michigan Study
April 2014 – Flint changes water source to Flint River.
January 2015 – Flint notifies customers it’s in violation of drinking water treatment standard for total Trihalomethanes (TTHM).
January 2015 – Flint issues RFP for consulting services to address TTHM violations.
February 4, 2015 – Flint hires Veolia Water North America Operating Services, LLC (Veolia).
Scope: The city hired Veolia in February 2015 for a one-time, one-month analysis to help address concerns about the levels of disinfection byproducts (TTHM), discoloration, and taste-and-odor issues. The company’s work was limited, at Flint’s direction, to only assisting with these concerns. Lead and copper testing was specifically omitted from Veolia’s scope of work because the city represented to Veolia that it was handling that on its own.
February 9-10, 2015 – The contract with Flint is publicly announced.
February 10, 2015 – Veolia personnel meet with city personnel to begin 160 hour assessment and participate in public roundtable discussion with Mayor Walling, Emergency Manager Gerald Ambrose, Public Works Director Howard Croft, media.
February 18, 2015 – Veolia presents initial findings to City Council Public Works Committee and delivers interim report.
March 12, 2015 – Veolia delivers final report to Emergency Manager Gerald Ambrose.
Transparency: Veolia’s report and recommendations were delivered in a highly transparent manner in public meetings with the city’s newly formed Technical Advisory committee (which included public health officials, university scientists and others with technical backgrounds in water utility management). The report was also publicly reviewed with the newly established Citizens Advisory committee. Veolia provided the final report to Flint’s emergency manager and it was posted on the city’s website.
Recommendations: Technical experts from Veolia conducted a limited review of Flint’s water treatment process to assess problems in the way the city was treating Flint River water. The problems involved prior water quality violations related to chlorine residuals. Veolia issued a broad and sweeping set of recommendations addressing required capital improvements, water chemistry and process changes, corrosion control and additional training requirements, and further recommended that Flint do the following:
- Establish a well-documented process control management plans to more effectively manage water quality
- Alter treatment processes (increases/reductions in certain chemicals and dosing)
- Establish a rigorous maintenance program
- Make immediate capital improvements at the treatment plant (changing filter media to reduce TTHM potential)
- Develop a targeted and increased flushing program in the distribution system to improve water quality and minimize the time water is in the distribution system to reduce TTHM formation potential
- Train staff to implement treatment process changes
- Establish a Technical Advisory committee of qualified, independent voices to review and share ideas for improvement
March 12, 2015 – Veolia’s engagement with Flint is complete.
June 24, 2015 – EPA’s drinking water expert, Miguel Del Toral, delivers an initial report to Flint raising concerns about elevated lead levels following sampling. “(Veolia’s and LAN’s) reports were written prior to the recent discovery of high lead results in Flint drinking water. As such, the reports do not take into account the potential effects on lead levels in drinking water.”
March 21, 2016 – Governor Rick Snyder’s Flint Water Advisory Task Force completes its final report and, after conducting dozens of interviews, calls the crisis “…a story of government failure.” The report makes no mention of Veolia and assigns blame largely to the State of Michigan.