This op-ed was originally published in Bridge Michigan 04/24/24

Ten years ago, fateful decisions made by a series of appointed emergency managers came to fruition in Flint, when a group of smiling officials raised glasses of water in a toast at the city’s water treatment plant. 

April 25, 2014, was a historic day, marking the change of the city’s drinking water source to the Flint River from the Detroit system, which had delivered safe, clean water to the Genesee County city for nearly 50 years.

The reason for the change: money. 

One of the emergency managers said the move would save Flint $5 million over two years while a pipeline was built to bring water from Lake Huron to Flint and the rest of Genesee County.  

Immediately, residents of the majority-Black city of 100,000 people knew it was a horrible move. Water flowing from the taps in many homes was discolored, odorous and tasted foul. 

Curt Guyette is editor at large for the ACLU of Michigan. In 2016, he was recognized as “Journalist of the Year” by the Michigan Press Association for his work in exposing the contamination of Flint’s drinking water.