Michigan DEQ admits mistakes in handling of Flint water

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LANSING (WJRT) - (10/19/15) - A state agency is admitting mistakes in its handling of Flint's water emergency - particularly in the case of corrosion control.

Recent studies have shown Flint River water to be more corrosive than Detroit water, and that it was releasing lead into the city water system.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality now says federal rules weren't followed that could have helped keep the lead out.

DEQ Director Dan Wyant says based on Flint's size, corrosion controls should have been used while the city was on Flint River water, but his staff failed to catch that.

As it turns out, the department was following federal standards for cities of 50,000 people or less.

The corrosive nature of the river water is what was releasing lead into the system.

"We have an action plan in place. The action plan addresses both the short term, intermediate and long-term. What was being recommended both by the researchers and a lot of the community that brought this forward, we are now implementing," Wyant said.

"Our staff was looking at alkalinity and corrosion control, but we relied on the MDEQ for information," said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) believes jobs should be on a line.

"Folks at the very least were made aware of the problem. It's a question of whether they purposely did this or it was out of negligence, but either way, it's very troubling," Ananich said.

Walling says it's now up to the state to make amends by fronting the bill for replacing the aging infrastructure.

"There needs to be a full investigation at the state to understand how this could happen to any community in Michigan," he said.

Erin Brockovich is also reacting to the state's admission.

Brockovich, a famous water activist says "No Kidding" on Facebook. She says her team came to Flint back in February, and for free, gave the exact recommendations the state is now implementing - eight months later.

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