Snyder releases Flint water emails

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Now that Governor Snyder has released the emails in question we are able to take a closer look at what communication took place and when it happened.

If you take a look at the collection of emails, and compare them to the comprehensive timeline the governor released Tuesday, the series of events that led up to the crisis match up.

Governor Snyder said he was first briefed on the scope of the problems with the lead in the water in late September of 2015.

Soon after that he says officials confirmed the dangers in the water in Flint resulting in his call of action to put a plan in place to test for lead exposure.

After sifting through more than 250 pages of emails here’s a quick break down of some of the things we found.

The collection of 274 Flint water emails Governor Rick Snyder released Wednesday starts with a press release from April 25, 2015, announcing the city of Flint had switched to the Flint River for it’s water.

In it says: “despite concerns… The water is safe to drink”.

In an email sent on September 25, 2015, Dennis Muchmore, the governor’s chief of staff, says “the switch over to use Flint water has spurred controversy. The DEQ and DCH feel that some in Flint are taking the very sensitive issue of children’s exposure to lead and trying to turn it into political football.”

Muchmore goes on to say that while the water in Flint has had occasional “less than savory aspects” there has been no “clear evidence of lead issues, according to information from the Health Department”.

Emails reveal health officials understated the findings of a local pediatrician at Hurley Medical Center who was the first to raise concerns about children who had high lead levels.

That same day the city of Flint issued a lead advisory.

An email from October 18, 2015, reveals after the Detroit News requested information to find out if the DEQ followed appropriate federal protocols for the population size of Flint after it appeared DEQ staffers downplayed or ignored warning signs from the EPA’s water expert.

Former DEQ director Dan Wyant says “I believe now we made a mistake” the staff was performing protocol for communities under 50,000 people.

On October 21, 2015, Governor Snyder said he heard two Flint children were in critical condition over lead and requests that his staff looks into the status of the claim.

To which the governor’s former spokesperson Sara Wurfel responds she wasn’t able to find any patients with such conditions.

That same day the governor appointed the “Flint Water Advisory Task Force” to review actions that were taken at the local, state and federal level that resulted in the water crisis and how to fix it.

In an email document on November 16, 2015, it states that the DEQ did not require the city of Flint to have corrosion control in place when it switched to the Flint river as it’s primary source of drinking water.

It then goes on to say the first 6-month round of lead and copper monitoring conducted by the city ended on June 30, 2015.

69 samples that met the criteria were submitted and the 90th percentile lead level was calculated.

The conclusion was that the city, while in compliance with the action level, exceeded the level required to be deemed as having optimized corrosion control.

In late December of 2015 the task force laid out a list of findings and recommendations.

In the report it states, quote, “we believe the primary responsibility for what happened in Flint rests with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, although many individuals and entites at state and local levels contributed to creating the problem. The MDEQ is the government agency that has responsibility to ensure safe drinking water in Michigan. It failed that responsibility and must be held accountable for that failure.” end quote.

Those are just some of the emails included in the 274 pages that were released Wednesday.

To take a look at them for yourself click here.

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