FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan city of Flint is under a public health emergency that has led to local, state and federal emergency declarations because its drinking water is tainted with lead.
Flint's water became contaminated when the financially struggling city switched from the Detroit municipal system and began drawing from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money. The water was not properly treated to keep lead from pipes from leaching into the supply. Some children's blood has tested positive for lead, a potent neurotoxin linked to learning disabilities, lower IQ and behavioral problems.
Here are the latest developments in the Flint water crisis:
Both the Michigan and U.S. Senate are planning or taking action related to Flint's water crisis.
Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois says Democrats will offer an amendment to a bill on the Senate floor to address the water crisis. He says Democratic Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan will seek to amend a Senate energy bill being debated on Thursday. Durbin offered few details, but said the measure would "protect children from water that is deadly or poisonous."
A state Senate committee on Wednesday approved Gov. Rick Snyder's request for $28 million more in the short term to pay for more filters, bottled water, school nurses and monitoring. The money would also replace plumbing fixtures in schools with lead problems and help Flint with unpaid water bills. The full Senate now takes up the legislation, a version of which was passed by the House last week.
LEAD PIPE LAWSUIT
A lawsuit filed Wednesday asks a federal judge to force Michigan and the city of Flint to replace all lead pipes in Flint's water system to ensure residents have a safe drinking supply.
The complaint by the Natural Resources Defense Council, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Concerned Pastors for Social Action and resident Melissa Mays says service lines from water mains into homes should be replaced at no cost to customers. The suit seeks an order requiring city and state officials to remedy alleged violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
It's at least the fourth lawsuit filed over Flint's lead-tainted water. The others seek financial damages and class-action status.
WATER COMMITTEE NAMED
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder named a group of medical and field experts on Wednesday to a committee that will determine long-term solutions to fix Flint's water system and help residents who have been exposed to lead.
The governor said the 17-member committee will make recommendations regarding the health of people exposed to lead, study Flint's water infrastructure and determine potential upgrades, and establish ways to improve communication between local and state government.
The committee includes Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, who has extensively studied the issue in Flint and elsewhere, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who is credited with bringing the problem to the public's attention after state agencies initially dismissed her concerns.
FLINT HIRES EXPERT
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said Wednesday that Edwards has been hired by the city oversee water testing done by the state and federal governments. She added he will be "fully independent," report to her and get paid through private donations.
FEDERAL NOTIFICATION PROPOSED
Democratic U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan said Wednesday that they will introduce legislation to clarify the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to notify the public if a danger from lead is in their water system.
The bill would direct the EPA to notify residents and health departments if the amount of lead found in a public water system requires action, in the absence of notification by the state.