Michigan Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Flint Water Engineers
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a civil lawsuit against two separate water engineering companies for professional negligence in dealing with the dangerously high levels of lead found in Flint’s municipal drinking water supply over the past two years.
The state will sue water management firm Veolia North America, and Houston-based engineering firm Lockwood, Andrews and Newman (LAN), seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in reparations for “fraudulent and dangerous recommendations [that] made a bad situation worse.”
Schuette claims that Veolia knowingly filed a false report in February 2015 concerning the safety of Flint’s drinking water, which was then being sourced from the Flint River after switching out from Detroit’s municipal system via Lake Huron in a state effort to reduce costs in April 2014.
LAN had been hired by the state to treat new drinking water sources from 2013 to 2015, during which time they continuously reported that all water met federal safety requirements. They also failed to recognize the lead contamination, according to the lawsuit filing.
The lead itself, which can be toxic to humans and is said to be responsible for 600,000 new cases of childhood development intellectual disabilities every year, is thought to have made its way into Flint’s water supply through of an outdated, corrosive water pipe system.
Still, many of the city’s inhabitants seek justice for the state’s failure to provide more immediate responsive action. Criminal charges have also been filed against two state Department of Environmental Quality officials, and many have called for the resignation of Governor Rick Snyder for his gross mishandling of the crisis.
“Many things went tragically wrong in Flint, and both criminal conduct and civil conduct caused harm to the families of Flint and to the taxpayers of Michigan,” Schuette said. “In Flint, Veolia and LAN were hired to do a job and failed miserably, basically botched it. They didn’t stop the water in Flint from being poisoned. They made it worse.”
Both Veolia and LAN have said they plan to deny all accusations.