Flint Director Resigns Amidst Lead Contamination Controversy

Howard Croft held the position of director of public works for the City of Flint, Michigan, since 2011

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The director of public works in Flint, Michigan, resigned last week amidst a drinking-water controversy that has resulted in legal action from several groups. Howard Croft, who has held the position since late 2011, had headed the city’s water treatment and distribution.

The city began drawing its water from the Flint River in spring 2014 as a cost-saving measure. According to a Detroit News article, a failure to treat the water with proper corrosion controls coupled with aging lead-connections lines created widespread lead contamination. The city previously received water from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department.

Residents of Flint, together with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Natural Resources Defense Council, announced their intention to sue state and city officials for violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The groups hope to force officials to address dangerous levels of lead in the city’s drinking water.

“The action is about holding the government accountable for failing to protect the public health of an entire community,” says Anjali Walkar, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Dangerous amounts of lead leached out of the city’s pipes and into Flint’s drinking water for more than a year following a decision by Flint officials to use the Flint River as the city’s primary drinking water source.

The Notice of Intent to Sue was served on behalf of Concerned Pastors for Social Action, an association of religious leaders from Flint; Melissa Mays, a Flint resident; the ACLU of Michigan; and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The groups claim that since April 2014, the City of Flint and Michigan state officials have failed to monitor and control for lead in Flint’s drinking water and maintain a program to assist Michigan schools with lead testing and remediation, in violation of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

If City of Flint and Michigan state officials — including Governor Rick Snyder and Dan Wyant, director of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality — do not remedy violations under the Safe Drinking Water Act within 60 days, the groups intend to file a lawsuit in federal court.

Source: Detroit News


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