EPA says it was misled about Flint water controls

This Jan. 21, 2016 photo shows the water tower at the Flint, Mich., water plant. (Perry Rech/American Red Cross via AP)

FLINT, Mich. (WOOD) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it was misled about whether Flint’s water was being treated after the source switch that eventually caused the city’s drinking water crisis.

In Flint on Tuesday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke bluntly on the issue:

“I am telling you that when we were asked whether corrosion control was happening, we were told that it was and a few month later or a few weeks later, we were told it wasn’t,” she said.

McCarthy also pointed the finger at the governor-appointed emergency manager then in charge of the city, Darnell Earley. She blamed Earley for choosing the Flint River as the new water source in April 2014 and not treating it.

“We are here today because a state-appointed emergency manger made the decision that the city of Flint would stop purchasing treated water that would well serve them for 50 years,” she said.

Earley stepped down from his current job as the emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools on Tuesday.

McCarthy also said she’s ready to take full responsibly if the EPA made any mistakes.

“What happened in Flint should never have happened. I’m looking at whether we could or should have done anything differently,” McCarthy said.

“Did EPA do everything it could? I will find out,” she added.

The EPA will remain in Flint until further notice.

“We are not going to leave until I know that the system is functioning and I have assurances that it’s going to continue that way,” McCarthy said.

At her request, she said, the EPA started an investigation into its role in the crisis. There is no word yet on when it will be complete.

Also on Tuesday, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said she wants the city’s lead pipes removed immediately. The corrosive water from the Flint River has been drawing lead from the pipes, sending contaminated water into people’s homes.

The FBI also got involved in the criminal investigation being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice.


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