News Feature | November 18, 2015

Locals Take Flint To Court Over ‘Outrageous' Water Service

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Flint residents are fighting back after a year of frustration over allegedly unsafe drinking water flowing from their taps.

Resident “are suing over dangerous lead levels in their tap water resulting from state and local efforts to save money by switching the city's water supply last year,” The Huffington Post reported.

In one lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Resources Defense Council are bringing the city to court. Michael Steinberg, legal director for the ACLU of Michigan, explained the basis for the case.

“In their short-sighted effort to save a buck, the leaders who were supposed to be protecting Flint’s citizens instead left them exposed to dangerously high levels of lead contamination,” he said in a statement. “Not only were the city and state’s actions harmful and misguided. They were illegal, too.”

Residents are also filing a separate case against the city, describing water decisions made by policymaker as “reckless” and “outrageous.”

“Families in Flint have filed a federal lawsuit in the wake of the city’s water crisis, accusing an array of state and local officials of intentional negligence causing serious harm to at least four families’ homes and bodies,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

“The families claim they have suffered a range of medical conditions as a result of the toxic water: skin lesions and hair loss, ‘brain fog’ and convulsions, hypertension, autoimmune disorder, and high levels of lead and copper in their bloodstreams,” the report continued.

Flint has faced water challenges, including E. coli and high trihalomethane levels, since it stopped using Detroit's water supply last year and became responsible for its own treatment processes. Since the switch to Flint River water, "residents started complaining about skin rashes and their hair falling out, likely caused by the chlorine used to kill the E. coli," Michigan Radio reported.

For more on issues with contaminated drinking water, visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Contaminant Removal Solutions Center.