Researcher: Flint water system a recipe for legionella, says Lyon objected to certain parts of study

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FLINT (WJRT) - (11/15/17) - Day seven of testimony in Nick Lyon's preliminary exam continued Wednesday with a Wayne State professor who was tapped by the state to research the deadly Legionnaire's disease outbreak.

MDHHS Chief Nick Lyon looking on as Dr. Shawn McElmurry testifies

Dr. Shawn McElmuury testified that the change in Flint's water and corrosion of pipes created a toxic recipe for legionella.

"If you were to design a system to grow legionella, this is the type of system you would use to grow legionella," asked special prosecutor Todd Flood.

"I would have a high amount of organic matter. I would have iron and I would not add chlorine," McElmurry answered.

Flood continued, "Okay, and was that happening in the city of Flint?"

"As far as I can tell, yes," McElmurry added.

McElmurry said he had done work in Flint as early as 2010 at the request of then Mayor Dayne Walling. That was primarily to address infrastructure concerns in a city with a shrinking population.

He was tapped most recently by Governor Snyder's aide Harvey Hollins in March of 2016 to look at the Legionnaire's disease outbreak. 12 people died and 79 more were sickened by legionella bacteria in 2014 and 2015.

McElmurry was allowed to speak as an expert in environmental health, but the defense was adamant that they didn't believe he was qualified to talk about matters of public health.

He is an environmental engineering professor at Wayne State University and one of the 22 member Flint Area Community Health & Environment Partnership, a team paid by the state to help the people of Flint.

"We felt that this...would, you know, this was our family, our kids. I mean, we felt...we really felt for the people of Flint and we felt it was important to get this right for them," McElmurry said.

McElmurry also said he had multiple meetings with Lyon and Eden Wells, the state's chief medical executive.

"There were objections raised to different parts of this at different times," speaking of his research. "I...On some occasions he was not in favor of us doing this, for sure," McElmurry said.

McElmurry's testimony is important as the prosecution tries to connect Nick Lyon to the death of a man who had Legionnaire's disease.

Lyon's preliminary hearing resumes Friday at 10 a.m. before Judge David Goggins.

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