6 years after Flint water crisis, Michigan's ex-governor to face charges

3 min read
The crisis has left parts of the majority Black city unable to access clean water for more than 2,400 days.
Rick Synder was governor of Michigan when the state approved a 2014 cost-saving plan that switched the city of Flint's water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewage Department water to the Flint River while a pipeline was built to Lake Huron. The water, however, was not treated to reduce corrosion, leading the majority-Black community of 100,000 to drink and use water laced with heavy metal neurotoxins, coliform bacteria, and lead. Some homes still lack access to clean water today.

Six years, 8 months, and three weeks since Flint's drinking water became contaminated, Snyder, his health director Nick Lyon, and at least seven other ex-officials have been told they're being charged for their role in the scandal.

In a 2016 testimony, the city's utilities chief explained the city's water treatment plant wasn't capable of adding corrosion-control treatment without equipment upgrades the budget-strapped city "couldn't afford." The untreated water then flowed through aging lead pipes used in much of the city, adding to the contamination.

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