LANSING – Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality failed to comply with the federal Lead and Copper Rule and were too slow to react when problems were found with the Flint water system, an EPA Office of Inspector General report released Thursday said.
The report found that the DEQ, in approving Flint’s change from the Detroit water system to the Flint River as its water source, did not ensure the city had an inventory of lead service lines or require corrosion control treatment, both of which it said were required under the federal rule.
The EPA, the report said, did not have the management controls in place to ensure faster decisions were made when problems were found.
“While oversight authority is vital, its absence can contribute to a catastrophic situation,” EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins said in a statement. “This report urges the EPA to strengthen its oversight of state drinking water programs now so that the agency can act quickly in times of emergency.”
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) said the findings echo his own concerns raised over the situation.
“As I have said before, the Flint water crisis was a failure of all levels of government. Justice for Flint families comes in many forms and the release of this report is one form of holding those responsible accountable,” Mr. Kildee said in a statement. “Since learning of the water crisis, I have called on the EPA to conduct a full investigation into what went wrong and how government failed Flint.”
He noted a new federal law, in which he was joined by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), that requires the EPA to immediately notify the public of excessive lead findings in drinking water and legislation he is promoting update the Lead and Copper Rule.
This story was provided by Gongwer News Service