One year ago, on Sept. 15, 2015, a press conference was held on the lawn in front of Flint City Hall. Gathered before a small throng of reporters were members of Flint’s Coalition for Clean Water, scientists Marc Edwards and Siddhartha Roy of Virginia Tech and the ACLU of Michigan.
Edwards and Roy were there to announce the results of a citizen-led study that had found lead levels in Flint’s water that were nearly double what the city and the state estimated.
Members of the Coalition for Clean water – which included the Flint Democracy Defense League, Concerned Pastors for Social Action, Water You fighting For?, CAUTION, Concerned Citizens and others – turned out in force to issue a number of demands, including a return to Detroit’s water system and the replacement of lead service lines.
Meanwhile, the ACLU of Michigan announced the results of our own investigation –which found that the city and state could claim that Flint’s water met federal standards because the tests used to back those claims had been rigged in multiple ways to guarantee the results would skew low. As a result of these findings, we called for an independent outside investigation into way those tests were conducted.
National media weren’t paying much heed that day. And those in power in Michigan had made their best efforts to keep the story from ever getting out.
But the tragic tale of the Flint water crisis – wherein a cost-saving switch to the corrosive Flint River as the city’s municipal water source led to the leaching of lead into the water supply for nearly two years – eventually broke through and drew international attention. Because of the determined efforts of those standing in front of City Hall one year ago, the truth would not stay buried.
Now, as we look back on the one-year anniversary of that gathering of media and activists, we’ve heard a lot of rhetoric and seen a lot of posturing in the months since – but the truth about what’s happened in Flint has emerged slowly, painstakingly and at the same glacial pace that change has arrived to Flint.
This story was excerpted from the Metro Times. Read the rest of the story here.