How the WaPo whitewashed the Flint water disaster

posted at 10:01 am on January 21, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

I’m one of those masochists who signs up for daily email alerts from several news services just to keep tabs on the stories I might miss on cable news. I get a couple of them from the Washington Post, one of which is the “Five Minute Fix.” These breaking news alerts provide not only a quick glance at the news of the day, but frequently a good look at how reporters at one of the nation’s largest newspapers view the news and choose to project it to the public. Last night’s Fix was a great example of the latter as it dealt with the ongoing debacle in Flint, Michigan, and reporter Amber Phillips provided the nation with a story containing huge gaps in the facts while seemingly pushing a political agenda. After a thumbnail description of the toxic drinking water situation, here’s the intro she chose.

It’s unclear how Gov. Rick Snyder (R), in his second of two terms, will come out of this — a few are calling for his resignation, including Bernie Sanders — but the fact that we’re talking about it here in Washington conveys the magnitude of the problem.

Here’s what you need to know:

Beyond the fact that there is only one government official mentioned at the top (the only Republican available on the scene by coincidence, I’m sure) take particular note of the last six words emphasized above. We’ll circle back to that in a moment.

First, let’s take a look at the short version of the Flint water story being told here. It begins with the 2014 decision to switch water supplies to the Flint River, and then moves into 2015. (Emphasis added)

Soon after, residents began complaining of murky, smelly water that gave their children rashes. In September, researchers found lead in the water and abnormal spikes of lead in Flint children’s blood levels, a sign of potentially irreversible lead poisoning. Turns out the Flint River had eroded the city’s lead pipes and fixtures, poisoning dozens, and some suspect that the water is linked to an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease that has killed 10.

It wasn’t until then, nearly 18 months later, that the governor acknowledged the problem and promised to do something about it.

After that, the “Fix” immediately reverts to the political fallout and, once again, the only name mentioned is that of Rick Snyder. But those who have been following the actual story know that not only is there a lot of information missing there, key parts of it are absolutely dishonest. The contamination was not “found” in September. That’s just when the public (and presumably the Governor’s office) found out about it. As early as January of last year there were red flags being raised (though the lead levels were still a question mark at that point) but it was the city (not the state government) which insisted there was nothing to see here.

JANUARY 2015: Flint seeks an evaluation of its efforts to improve the water amid concerns that it contains potentially harmful levels of a disinfection byproduct. Detroit offers to reconnect Flint to its water system. Flint insists its water is safe.

JAN. 28: Flint residents snap up 200 cases of bottled water in 30 minutes in a giveaway program. More giveaways will follow in ensuing months.

And then, as Ms. Phillips would know if she read her own paper, by the end of February the EPA had already tested the water and knew it was toxic, but they sat on the information as they argued with the state environmental office and even suppressed the release of a memo written by the EPA saying the water was toxic.

EPA official Susan Hedman did not publicize the EPA’s concern over Flint’s water quality or the water’s dangerous health concerns. The federal agency instead quietly fought with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for at least six months about what should be done.

EPA water expert, Miguel Del Toral, identified potential contamination problems with Flint’s drinking water last February and confirmed the suspicions in April. He authored an internal memo about the problem in June, according to documents obtained by Virginia Tech.

Meanwhile, Hedman became aware of the contamination issue in April. She sought legal advice, but didn’t receive the guidance until November 2014. The American Civil Liberties Union accused Hedman in October of attempting to keep Miguel Del Toral’s memo in-house, downplaying its significance.

And yet, to read your Five Minute Fix from the Washington Post, you would think that nobody except the Governor ever knew anything and he simply dragged his feet, whistling past the Flint graveyard until he was prodded into action. You would have no idea that the EPA had the information in their hands and the head of the agency is already being questioned about it, though she insists they did their jobs wonderfully.

Remember up at the top when I pointed out the intro to the Fix? Here’s what you need to know. No doubt that’s what plenty of folks in the media would like you to know. It’s an election year, and damage control for the Democrats is in full swing in the media. They’re going to do their level best to flush any questions about the EPA or the local administration down the memory hole and blame the entire thing on Rick Snyder. Sadly, unless more people point it out, it’s going to work, too.

FlintWater


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Comments

Rascist water…

albill on January 21, 2016 at 10:07 AM

As Trump would say, “Winning!”

vnvet on January 21, 2016 at 10:10 AM

EPA official Susan Hedman did not publicize the EPA’s concern over Flint’s water quality or the water’s dangerous health concerns. The federal agency instead quietly fought with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for at least six months about what should be done.

This is criminal. People should have been notified immediately.

darwin on January 21, 2016 at 10:12 AM

They’re going to do their level best to flush any questions about the EPA or the local administration down the memory hole and blame the entire thing on Rick Snyder. Sadly, unless more people point it out, it’s going to work, too.

Sounds like Rick Snyder isn’t going to be scapegoated without a fight.

Happy Nomad on January 21, 2016 at 10:15 AM

And Snyder apologized.

Big mistake.

LoganSix on January 21, 2016 at 10:18 AM

Sadly, unless more people point it out, it’s going to work, too.

OF COURSE JAZZ! It always works as no Republican is ever willing to stand and fight! And you are consistently dumbfounded every single time it happens!

Pay attention Bro…it is totally predictable!!!!

winston on January 21, 2016 at 10:22 AM

Flint water hysteria.

Lead levels in 3.8% of children slightly up over recent past, markedly decreased over past.

Ten µg/dL (micrograms /deciliter) was adopted by CDC in 1991 as an action level for children, an advisory level for environmental and educational intervention.

Affected children’s level below Ten µg/dL.

EPA has set drinking water standards with two levels of protection.

The maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) is zero. This is the levels determined to be safe by toxicological and biomedical considerations, independent of feasibility. [typical EPA – do it even if it is impossible]

EPA’s final rule establishes an action level is set at 15 µg/L.

A problem that needs to be fixed, but not quite the catastrophe it is being painted to be.

F X Muldoon on January 21, 2016 at 10:23 AM

Throw the EPA and state environmental officials in jail for depraved indifference. RICO trials for all in the conspiracy to not tell the people. Trust in any of our state or Federal governments is close to zero. If officials who lied or lied by omission to citizens were charged with crimes as appropriate, like in Flint, maybe, just maybe, we would develop some trust again with government.

amr on January 21, 2016 at 10:23 AM

even suppressed the release of a memo written by the EPA saying the water was toxic.

Good thing the government is taking over our health care. We can trust them.

Fenris on January 21, 2016 at 10:27 AM

Can’t Trump do a whistle-stop in Flint, flying between IA and NH, and have some remarks prepared for him to put this under a bright spotlight?

Indictment of the EPA and local dem officials? A frame-up of a Republican, all to gin up dem outrage in an election year?

Wouldn’t this play nationally, and further boost his fortunes in both IA, NH, and SC?

Sting on January 21, 2016 at 10:28 AM

As Trump would say, “Winning!”

vnvet on January 21, 2016 at 10:10 AM

Wasn’t that Charlie Sheen?

Lolo on January 21, 2016 at 10:29 AM

Sadly, unless more people point it out, it’s going to work, too.

Worked in Katrina when media skipped over a Democrat mayor and a Democrat governor right up to Boooosh!
Watch out Obama! …….Oops forgot he’s a Dem. Go back to sleep Barack.

Herb on January 21, 2016 at 10:31 AM

Soon after, residents began complaining of murky, smelly water that gave their children rashes. In September, researchers found lead in the water and abnormal spikes of lead in Flint children’s blood levels, a sign of potentially irreversible lead poisoning. Turns out the Flint River had eroded the city’s lead pipes and fixtures, poisoning dozens, and some suspect that the water is linked to an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease that has killed 10.

They still have lead pipes, after all these years?!? WTH?

Ward Cleaver on January 21, 2016 at 10:33 AM

I despise this vile Obama administration, and his WaPo stenographers.

locomotivebreath1901 on January 21, 2016 at 10:34 AM

Wasn’t that Charlie Sheen?

So, that’s where Trump got it!

vnvet on January 21, 2016 at 10:36 AM

If the governor of Michigan were a democrat, the blame would’ve went to Detroit for their water being too pricey for Flint to afford.

ihatemyexwife on January 21, 2016 at 10:36 AM

I know one of Snyder’s PR people, who is married to a DEQ official. I lived in DC, too, during their lead drinking water problems back in 2002ish, and I don’t recall it being turned into a partisan football like this.

Christien on January 21, 2016 at 10:40 AM

The majority of the blame must rest upon Flint officials. If the Water Department was not testing the water supply for contaminants weekly, they weren’t doing their job. As soon as they detected elevated contaminant levels, they should have raised the red flags and take action to resolve the issue, without relying on the EPA or MI DEQ.

I’m also confused as to the source of the contaminants. On one hand, the blame is being laid on using the Flint River as their supply. Water drawn from the Flint River should have been treated by the Flint Department. It wasn’t. Flint officials must shoulder the blame. One the other hand, we’re being told that the water corroded the lead pipes, leading to elevated lead in the water. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

But, as the Mayor of Flint is a Democrat and the bureaucrats at the EPA are all liberals, they will cover up their guilt by blaming a Republican Governor.

GAlpha10 on January 21, 2016 at 10:44 AM

This is why Republicans lose. The media is in full attack mode and Snyder apologizes. He should have held a press conference and attacked the city council and mayor (all democrats), then moved on with attacks against the EPA, all while providing complete evidence of their malfeasance. Instead, we get a wimpy apology and some stupid reference to Katrina. Katrina for goodness sake!!! No wonder we lose at every turn.

ChowHound on January 21, 2016 at 10:44 AM

They still have lead pipes, after all these years?!? WTH?

Ward Cleaver on January 21, 2016 at 10:33 AM

Flint is broke (financially). They don’t have the tax base or tax revenue to replace the lead pipes or use technology to line them with plastic.

GAlpha10 on January 21, 2016 at 10:47 AM

Another example of unfiltered koolaid drinking by the Leftmedia. Flint’s water is only potentially hazardous to your health. That koolaid rots your brain.

COskier on January 21, 2016 at 10:49 AM

Flint is broke (financially). They don’t have the tax base or tax revenue to replace the lead pipes or use technology to line them with plastic.

GAlpha10 on January 21, 2016 at 10:47 AM

Name that party!

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 10:57 AM

Turns out the Flint River had eroded the city’s lead pipes and fixtures

I was under the impression that the pipes sitting unused for a long time is what damaged the “pipes and fixtures”. Of course, I’m also going to wonder “How the f* old are those pipes that they are made of lead?”

GWB on January 21, 2016 at 11:00 AM

It looks to me like Snyder is the only official, including in the city itself, who took the warnings seriously and tried to do something about it. Typical that he’d get blamed by the usual suspects.

evergreen on January 21, 2016 at 11:02 AM

I was under the impression that the pipes sitting unused for a long time is what damaged the “pipes and fixtures”. Of course, I’m also going to wonder “How the f* old are those pipes that they are made of lead?”

GWB on January 21, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Lead pipes alone, or Flint River water alone, probably wouldn’t have been a big deal. Lead pipes + Flint River water = disaster, or so we are to believe. I guess in the end it’s all just another example of how government led by Dems really screws shit up.

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 11:10 AM

Name that party!

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 10:57 AM

Hmmm…Large minority population, dominated by the UAW, high unemployment. Let me take a wild guess…A DEMOCRAT.

GAlpha10 on January 21, 2016 at 11:10 AM

Name that party!

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 10:57 AM

Hmmm…Large minority population, dominated by the UAW, high unemployment. Let me take a wild guess…A DEMOCRAT.

GAlpha10 on January 21, 2016 at 11:10 AM

MC: Absolutely correct! Tell him what he wins, Johnny!

ANNOUNCER: You win a lifetime supply of bottled water and this lovely villa on the outskirts of flint, less than a two-hour drive from Detroit!

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 11:13 AM

A problem that needs to be fixed, but not quite the catastrophe it is being painted to be.

F X Muldoon on January 21, 2016 at 10:23 AM

Great info Muldoon. I had no idea.

And nowhere on the MSM? That’s strange./

Patriot Vet on January 21, 2016 at 11:17 AM

Actually, I’m in Lansing, just a 45 drive from Flint.

GAlpha10 on January 21, 2016 at 11:18 AM

It was sold a state appointed employee who took over as manager of finances. It was he who suggested they make the water change in the first place. So yes as Governor of the state the Governor is responsible for everything from the point his office took it over. It’s really not that hard to understand. Sarah Palin son beats his GF and that’s Obama’s fault but a Governor presides over an area with bad water and it’s not his fault. Lol….it’s hard to follow the dots with you guys

Politricks on January 21, 2016 at 11:19 AM

It was sold a state appointed employee who took over as manager of finances. It was he who suggested they make the water change in the first place. So yes as Governor of the state the Governor is responsible for everything from the point his office took it over. It’s really not that hard to understand. Sarah Palin son beats his GF and that’s Obama’s fault but a Governor presides over an area with bad water and it’s not his fault. Lol….it’s hard to follow the dots with you guys

Politricks on January 21, 2016 at 11:19 AM

So just what, if anything, is the EPA’s role in all this? Considering how long that it took for the EPA to make their knowledge public, you’d think there would be some liability somewhere on the part of FedGov in all this. I’m sure you’ll explain to me why their culpability isn’t legally actionable…

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 11:21 AM

All the media on Snyder fails to speculate on why he would want Flint water poisoned. Michael Moore says was all on purpose to kill the blacks. Does anyone say that Snyder switched the water supply because the new water contract was going to his brother? Any motive at all other than being simply pure evil?

sultanp on January 21, 2016 at 11:22 AM

Turns out the Flint River had eroded the city’s lead pipes and fixtures,

This is a straight up lie. There have been no lead pipes for potable water since Ceasar in Rome. Cast iron concrete lined has been used for over 100 years. Called ductile iron. Un-pressurized concrete and now plastic pipe (blue if you see it on the back of a semi truck) is used in the street. The only lead could be in solder joints 50/50 or 95/5 in buildings which has been harmless for a 100 years. Fixtures don’t use lead. They are brazed with silver solder. If the solder had been dissolved that much the pipes would be coming apart flooding everything. The picture I saw from a fire hydrant was vomit yellow. That was not from a building and was disgusting. They simply had no water treatment going on.

The City poisoned people knew it and didn’t care.

CW20 on January 21, 2016 at 11:23 AM

All the media on Snyder fails to speculate on why he would want Flint water poisoned. Michael Moore says was all on purpose to kill the blacks. Does anyone say that Snyder switched the water supply because the new water contract was going to his brother? Any motive at all other than being simply pure evil?

sultanp on January 21, 2016 at 11:22 AM

Was the new water contract going to Snyder’s brother, or is that just speculation on your part? I gathered the water supply was switched because Flint officials wanted a supply independent of Detroit’s; there is apparently more to the story than that, but what I thought was the case really never seemed that ominious to me.

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 11:25 AM

How are these two squared? Aren’t they in disagreement with each other?

CDC case management guidelines are designed to keep children’s BLLs below 10 µg/dL (CDC, 2002).

Studies have found neurobehavioral impairment in children with BLLs below 10 μg/dL. (Canfield, 2003; Lanphear et al. 2000)

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=7&po=8

Patriot Vet on January 21, 2016 at 11:27 AM

This reminds me of the joke:

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.”

She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be a Republican.”

“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”

The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Democrat.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist. “But how did you know?”

“Well,” said the man, “You don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You’ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You’ve made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and now you expect ME to solve your problem. You’re in EXACTLY the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now, it’s MY fault.

Jeff Weimer on January 21, 2016 at 11:28 AM

All the media on Snyder fails to speculate on why he would want Flint water poisoned. Michael Moore says was all on purpose to kill the blacks. Does anyone say that Snyder switched the water supply because the new water contract was going to his brother? Any motive at all other than being simply pure evil?

sultanp on January 21, 2016 at 11:22 AM

WTF? Snyder had nothing to do with the decision to change the water supply; it was all the city government.

Jeff Weimer on January 21, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Jeff Weimer on January 21, 2016 at 11:28 AM

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! That is awesome! Love it!

Patriot Vet on January 21, 2016 at 11:32 AM

It was sold a state appointed employee who took over as manager of finances.

Politricks on January 21, 2016 at 11:19 AM

What does your sentence even mean? We are supposed to believe someone who writes an incoherent sentence?

Neitherleftorright on January 21, 2016 at 11:33 AM

Was the new water contract going to Snyder’s brother, or is that just speculation on your part? I gathered the water supply was switched because Flint officials wanted a supply independent of Detroit’s; there is apparently more to the story than that, but what I thought was the case really never seemed that ominious to me.

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 11:25 AM

From what I’ve read, Flint decided to switch from the Detroit supply because Detroit was charging them a rate higher than normal. Flint has a financial crises and needed to save $$$. Flint had a plan to tap into another supply, but it would take a year to get the plan in place. When Detroit received notice that Flint was switching their water supply, rather than give them the year they had asked for, Detroit cut them off. Flint had no other choice other than tap into the Flint River. The Governor had nothing to do with the decision. Blame Flint for poor planning and execution. Blame Detroit for being greedy and cutting off their water supply early.

GAlpha10 on January 21, 2016 at 11:38 AM

Politricks on January 21, 2016 at 11:19 AM

The current city manager took office months *after* the city council decided to switch water supplies. And he’s a Democrat to boot.

So your “blame the Republican!” doesn’t hold, well, water. Nice try, though.

Jeff Weimer on January 21, 2016 at 11:46 AM

And then, as Ms. Phillips would know if she read her own paper, by the end of February the EPA had already tested the water and knew it was toxic, but they sat on the information as they argued with the state environmental office

What I would like to know is, what position EPA was arguing and what position state environmental officials were arguing.

And I’d also like to know is some history into the decision-making to switch. Obviously, Flint has a Water Department and that department must have some engineers that know something about the design of potable water systems. Flint likely also has an Engineering Department, to which the Water Department is subsidiary. Even if it is not a full fledged Engineering Dept, and most aren’t they do have private engineering firms with which they can consult.

Switching from one water source to another is not a trivial endeavor. What was the city’s evaluation process by which they made the decision?

Dusty on January 21, 2016 at 12:01 PM

What’s the big deal?
That water looks just as good as the EPA’s water in the Animas River in Colorado…..

dentarthurdent on January 21, 2016 at 12:06 PM

Does anyone say that Snyder switched the water supply because the new water contract was going to his brother? Any motive at all other than being simply pure evil?

sultanp on January 21, 2016 at 11:22 AM

WTF? Snyder had nothing to do with the decision to change the water supply; it was all the city government.

Jeff Weimer on January 21, 2016 at 11:30 AM

I think his point is that no one is actually making that claim. They are simply attributing it to the governor without motive – except maybe that simply wishes the people of Flint ill. I think.

Jeff Weimer on January 21, 2016 at 11:28 AM

I love it!

GWB on January 21, 2016 at 12:07 PM

Blame Flint for poor planning and execution. Blame Detroit for being greedy and cutting off their water supply early.

GAlpha10 on January 21, 2016 at 11:38 AM

Shorter: Blame Democrats.

GWB on January 21, 2016 at 12:10 PM

Of course, I’m also going to wonder “How the f* old are those pipes that they are made of lead?”

GWB on January 21, 2016 at 11:00 AM

I am sure they can be traced back to President Lincoln (R)

txdoc on January 21, 2016 at 12:17 PM

Third World Problems….

Team R needs to step up it’s game because Team D is advancing the ball after playing the Racisty Racist gambit….

Everyone is to blame, therefore no one is to blame. Pointing fingers at the RINO makes for good headlines though…

No one will be talking about this in June.

wytshus on January 21, 2016 at 12:28 PM

This is a straight up lie. There have been no lead pipes for potable water since Ceasar in Rome. Cast iron concrete lined has been used for over 100 years. Called ductile iron. Un-pressurized concrete and now plastic pipe (blue if you see it on the back of a semi truck) is used in the street. The only lead could be in solder joints 50/50 or 95/5 in buildings which has been harmless for a 100 years. Fixtures don’t use lead. They are brazed with silver solder. If the solder had been dissolved that much the pipes would be coming apart flooding everything. The picture I saw from a fire hydrant was vomit yellow. That was not from a building and was disgusting. They simply had no water treatment going on.

The City poisoned people knew it and didn’t care.

CW20 on January 21, 2016 at 11:23 AM

Completely wrong. Lead leaders were quite common early in the 20th century. Lead pipe was flexible so it made installion in home easy. These are the lines that connect the street main to the house. I had one in my house that was built in 1925. The real crime is these cities have done nothing to replace them over the years.

animal02 on January 21, 2016 at 12:39 PM

It was sold a state appointed employee who took over as manager of finances. It was he who suggested they make the water change in the first place. So yes as Governor of the state the Governor is responsible for everything from the point his office took it over. It’s really not that hard to understand. Sarah Palin son beats his GF and that’s Obama’s fault but a Governor presides over an area with bad water and it’s not his fault. Lol….it’s hard to follow the dots with you guys

Politricks on January 21, 2016 at 11:19 AM

Okay. I see now that you are a lying ass. Track Palin has taken responsibility for his own actions. What Sarah is saying is that Obama has failed the veterans that he and the rest of the Democrats hate. Just try and get anything out of the VA for your PTSD.
As a Viet Nam veteran I can assure you from personal experience that the VA has not helped a veteran since WWII. What Sarah is saying is that the great Obama has only made it worse

And why do you exempt Obama’s EPA from any blame in this? They knew that water was harmful and kept it quiet to protect other Democrats.

Capt Blasto on January 21, 2016 at 12:49 PM

I’m one of those masochists who signs up for daily email alerts from several news services just to keep tabs on the stories I might miss on cable news. I get a couple of them from the Washington Post, one of which is the “Five Minute Fix.” These breaking news alerts provide not only a quick glance at the news of the day, but frequently a good look at how reporters at one of the nation’s largest newspapers view the news and choose to project it to the public.

Jazz– doing the job most HA readers won’t do.
And for a very good reason.
Thanks, buddy! :)

AesopFan on January 21, 2016 at 12:51 PM

..
The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Democrat.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist. “But how did you know?”

“Well,” said the man, “You don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You’ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You’ve made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and now you expect ME to solve your problem. You’re in EXACTLY the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now, it’s MY fault.

Jeff Weimer on January 21, 2016 at 11:28 AM

Time to add it to Aesop’s collection, along with a few others.

This is why Republicans lose. The media is in full attack mode and Snyder apologizes. He should have held a press conference and attacked the city council and mayor (all democrats), then moved on with attacks against the EPA, all while providing complete evidence of their malfeasance. Instead, we get a wimpy apology and some stupid reference to Katrina. Katrina for goodness sake!!! No wonder we lose at every turn.

ChowHound on January 21, 2016 at 10:44 AM

If the governor of Michigan were a democrat, the blame would’ve went to Detroit for their water being too pricey for Flint to afford.

ihatemyexwife on January 21, 2016 at 10:36 AM

Au contraire, when there is no one left to blame but Democrats, DeMedia will simply ignore the story.

Sadly, unless more people point it out, it’s going to work, too.

Worked in Katrina when media skipped over a Democrat mayor and a Democrat governor right up to Boooosh!
Watch out Obama! …….Oops forgot he’s a Dem. Go back to sleep Barack.

Herb on January 21, 2016 at 10:31 AM

AesopFan on January 21, 2016 at 12:55 PM

Au contraire, when there is no one left to blame but Democrats, DeMedia will simply ignore the story.

QED

even suppressed the release of a memo written by the EPA saying the water was toxic.

Good thing the government is taking over our health care. We can trust them.

Fenris on January 21, 2016 at 10:27 AM

AesopFan on January 21, 2016 at 12:56 PM

Excellent sympopsis, with all the facts you actually do need to know:

From what I’ve read, Flint decided to switch from the Detroit supply because Detroit was charging them a rate higher than normal. Flint has a financial crises and needed to save $$$. Flint had a plan to tap into another supply, but it would take a year to get the plan in place. When Detroit received notice that Flint was switching their water supply, rather than give them the year they had asked for, Detroit cut them off. Flint had no other choice other than tap into the Flint River. The Governor had nothing to do with the decision. Blame Flint for poor planning and execution. Blame Detroit for being greedy and cutting off their water supply early.

GAlpha10 on January 21, 2016 at 11:38 AM

Question of fact: who is on the case now?

This is a straight up lie. There have been no lead pipes for potable water since Ceasar in Rome. Cast iron concrete lined has been used for over 100 years. Called ductile iron. Un-pressurized concrete and now plastic pipe (blue if you see it on the back of a semi truck) is used in the street. The only lead could be in solder joints 50/50 or 95/5 in buildings which has been harmless for a 100 years. Fixtures don’t use lead. They are brazed with silver solder. If the solder had been dissolved that much the pipes would be coming apart flooding everything. The picture I saw from a fire hydrant was vomit yellow. That was not from a building and was disgusting. They simply had no water treatment going on.

The City poisoned people knew it and didn’t care.

CW20 on January 21, 2016 at 11:23 AM

The majority of the blame must rest upon Flint officials. If the Water Department was not testing the water supply for contaminants weekly, they weren’t doing their job. As soon as they detected elevated contaminant levels, they should have raised the red flags and take action to resolve the issue, without relying on the EPA or MI DEQ.

I’m also confused as to the source of the contaminants. On one hand, the blame is being laid on using the Flint River as their supply. Water drawn from the Flint River should have been treated by the Flint Department. It wasn’t. Flint officials must shoulder the blame. One the other hand, we’re being told that the water corroded the lead pipes, leading to elevated lead in the water. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

But, as the Mayor of Flint is a Democrat and the bureaucrats at the EPA are all liberals, they will cover up their guilt by blaming a Republican Governor.

GAlpha10 on January 21, 2016 at 10:44 AM

AesopFan on January 21, 2016 at 12:58 PM

Looks like there are more nuances —

Completely wrong. Lead leaders were quite common early in the 20th century. Lead pipe was flexible so it made installion in home easy. These are the lines that connect the street main to the house. I had one in my house that was built in 1925. The real crime is these cities have done nothing to replace them over the years.

animal02 on January 21, 2016 at 12:39 PM

Lead pipes alone, or Flint River water alone, probably wouldn’t have been a big deal. Lead pipes + Flint River water = disaster, or so we are to believe. I guess in the end it’s all just another example of how government led by Dems really screws shit up.

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 11:10 AM

Unfortunately, GOP governance is not always perfect, but it may have a generally better track record because Republicans are more willing to throw the rascals out.

What’s the big deal?
That water looks just as good as the EPA’s water in the Animas River in Colorado…..

dentarthurdent on January 21, 2016 at 12:06 PM

AesopFan on January 21, 2016 at 1:03 PM

The WaPo has freely admitted that they lie to their foolish readers whenever it suits the political agenda, why anyone reads the WaPo is the real mystery.

oscarwilde on January 21, 2016 at 10:34 AM

Worth a read — most of us followed the exemplar stories from 2014 (and many more that could be cited) when they were happening, but the conclusion has been reinforced since them.

It isn’t just the Bloggers at the WaPo, just as it wasn’t only Dan Rather at CBS. It is an entire systemic and endemic culture within the liberal media. A culture where the single and solitary moral or ethical principal any of them have is: “The End Justifies the Means”. Their end goal is to “Fundamentally Transform” America into a Marxist Utopia, and they will commit any atrocity to achieve that goal. Their mentor, teacher and spiritual guide Saul Alinsky put it this way:

2. Of Means and Ends [Forget moral or ethical considerations]

“The end is what you want, the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. He has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work. … The real arena is corrupt and bloody.” p.24


“The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means….” p.29

“The seventh rule… is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics….” p.34

“The tenth rule… is you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments…. It involves sifting the multiple factors which combine in creating the circumstances at any given time… Who, and how many will support the action?… If weapons are needed, then are appropriate d weapons available? Availability of means determines whether you will be underground or above ground; whether you will move quickly or slowly…” p.36

Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” is their Bible, it is their tactical strategy textbook.

What neither Saul Alinsky, nor any of the other Marxists working so diligently over the last 80 years anticipated, was the Internet. They never anticipated that the internet would give average citizens a voice or the tools to fact check the lies that they were feeding Americans. …

This was done, because the Fifth Column Treasonous Media was clearly and indisputably loosing the information war, Americans were discovering that both the government and the media were knowingly and intentionally with a full forethought of malice lying to them. Giving away control of the internet is all about shutting down the fact checking, shutting down the dissenting voices and returning the unquestioned control of what information is widely disseminated amongst Americans regarding what the Federal government, now controlled by hardcore radical extremist Marxists, is doing to the United States Constitution and Constitutional Rights of American Citizens.

In re means & ends, and the availability of means, check out SultanKnish on the Islamic “Rules for Jihad”.
http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2016/01/understanding-caliphate-curve.html

PS: No offense, OW, but I did a few grammar-maven punctuation edits for you.

AesopFan on January 21, 2016 at 1:12 PM

The Governors office, needs to compile the timeline and point the fingers of blame.

Fleuries on January 21, 2016 at 1:17 PM

How are these two squared? Aren’t they in disagreement with each other?

Patriot Vet:

Not really. The argument is not whether lower is better, as obviously it is, however, going back to Paracelsus, the dose makes the poison.

You can wade through the Lanphear paper here and the Canfield paper here.

Some highlights from the latter from the latter (as it is in C&P form, not that there is anything remarkably different in the other paper):

The purpose:

It remains unclear whether lead-associated cognitive deficits occur at concentrations below 10 μg per deciliter. The CDC and WHO recognized that no evidence of a threshold existed for lead-associated deficits but noted an absence of research on the possible effects of blood lead concentrations below 10 μg per deciliter. Although some studies in which the average blood lead concentration was below 10 μg per deciliter have reported associations between the blood lead concentration and cognitive deficits, the analyses did not focus specifically on children whose concentrations remained below 10 μg per deciliter throughout life.6,11 Other evidence suggesting lead-related deficits at concentrations below 10 μg per deciliter relied on linear extrapolation or on data unadjusted for important potential confounders such as maternal intelligence and the quality of caregiving. We examined associations between low-level exposure to lead and children’s performance on intelligence tests at the ages of three and five years in a population that included many children whose blood lead concentrations remained below 10 μg per deciliter.

Thus we have Canfield et al. setting out to close the WHO’s evidence gap.

From the methods:

Of 276 children initially in the study, only 121 completed it and all assessments out to 5 years of age. Not exactly a huge sample.

From results:

The overall estimate indicated that an increase in the lifetime average blood lead concentration of 1 μg per deciliter was associated with a change of –0.46 IQ point (95 percent confidence interval, –0.76 to –0.15).

Basically, ignoring the fact that measuring IQ in infants and toddlers is dicey at best, there is no way you can measure IQ to two decimal points. What this really says is that the range of IQ difference was between 0 and 1, and it is really kind of a SWAG. Bear in mind that for almost all of the population serum lead levels were higher in the past.

From the conclusions:

As with any observational study, it is not possible to draw causal inferences from these findings. Instead, the plausibility of a causal interpretation must be judged by the consistency of findings from numerous epidemiologic studies and the relevant experimental studies in animals.

So bottom line is that “Studies have found neurobehavioral impairment in children with BLLs below 10 μg/dL” is a bit overstated, and should read “Studies have shown there may be neurobehavioral impairment in children with BLLs below 10 μg/dL.”

F X Muldoon on January 21, 2016 at 1:18 PM

In the late 90s, I was on the town council in a small town near Colorado Springs, where ALL of our water was from municipal wells of varying depths (8 total by the time I left the council). The Arapahoe aquifer at roughly 1800 feet down was our main source, but in that area tended to have a high content of iron and manganese – so our wells into that aquifer required a heavy duty filter system that typically cost about 60% of the total cost of setting up a new well (Well #8 total cost was ~$1.8 million – for enough water to supply ~450 houses IIRC).
Once running, if the town public works people didn’t keep up with maintenance of the well filters, they would clog and bypass – resulting in red tinged water going out – and people would scream about the town ruining their laundry, dirty water, etc – and the town would have to get the filters unclogged and sometimes reimburse people for ruined clothes – but the water supposedly was not really “hazardous”.

Point being – checking and monitoring water quality and filtering and treating water for municipal supply should be standard practice if the people in charge have ANY clue about what they’re doing.

Sooooo – Was Flint so strapped for money that they didn’t put filters in the line when they started pumping river water?
If not, why not? Would any of those Flint politicians or employees drink directly out of the river themselves?

dentarthurdent on January 21, 2016 at 1:26 PM

But we’ve got one-time Flint part time resident Michael Moore in town don’t ya know. He will probably bring in Cuba’s Top Medical Men to save Flint’s downtrodden from evil capitalists like Rick Snyder.

CitizenX on January 21, 2016 at 1:53 PM

What?

CitizenX on January 21, 2016 at 1:54 PM

Point being – checking and monitoring water quality and filtering and treating water for municipal supply should be standard practice if the people in charge have ANY clue about what they’re doing.

Sooooo – Was Flint so strapped for money that they didn’t put filters in the line when they started pumping river water?
If not, why not? Would any of those Flint politicians or employees drink directly out of the river themselves?

dentarthurdent on January 21, 2016 at 1:26 PM

The problem is the water coming out of the system was okay…..but the pH was different, and the lead leader lines lost their calcified build up causing lead to leach at the end users. Commercial businesses didn’t have the problems since their leaders are typically not lead

animal02 on January 21, 2016 at 2:46 PM

This kind of thing will only stop when mass executions of government officials are the consequence.

earlgrey on January 21, 2016 at 2:57 PM

The problem is the water coming out of the system was okay…..but the pH was different, and the lead leader lines lost their calcified build up causing lead to leach at the end users. Commercial businesses didn’t have the problems since their leaders are typically not lead

animal02 on January 21, 2016 at 2:46 PM

Back to my original point – that the public works people, and the people making decisions for the city don’t know their jobs and/or their systems – and clearly had not done anything to modernize the systems they had that they should have known would be a problem.

dentarthurdent on January 21, 2016 at 3:05 PM

Back to my original point – that the public works people, and the people making decisions for the city don’t know their jobs and/or their systems – and clearly had not done anything to modernize the systems they had that they should have known would be a problem.

dentarthurdent on January 21, 2016 at 3:05 PM

There’s only so much you can do with lead leaders (the pipes between the main and the buildings). It’s been against code to use lead piping of any kind in my home town for longer than I’ve been alive, but the city itself is over 130 years old with a significant number of buildings still standing for almost that long. Someone in Flint screwed up royally. And it may have even been someone in the city public works. It wasn’t the governor.

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Someone in Flint screwed up royally. And it may have even been someone in the city public works. It wasn’t the governor.

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM

I fully agree.
If the public works knew there were lead pipes in the city, and they should have known that; and if it was known that there was calcification in the system, and they should have known that as well; then SOMEONE in public works should also have known enough about chemistry to know that a change in pH might decalcify the lead pipes and allow lead contamination into the water.
How can you maintain a properly functioning municipal water system without people with the right knowledge?
(too rhetorical perhaps?)
Oh ya – Dem run – nevermind…..

dentarthurdent on January 21, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Someone in Flint screwed up royally. And it may have even been someone in the city public works. It wasn’t the governor.

gryphon202 on January 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM

I fully agree.

If the public works knew there were lead pipes in the city, and they should have known that; and if it was known that there was calcification in the system, and they should have known that as well; then SOMEONE in public works should also have known enough about chemistry to know that a change in pH might decalcify the lead pipes and allow lead contamination into the water.
How can you maintain a properly functioning municipal water system without people with the right knowledge?
(too rhetorical perhaps?)

Oh ya – Dem run – nevermind…..

dentarthurdent on January 21, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Has anyone figured out what role (at the state level) Michigan’s DEQ played in this fiasco? If any state-level folks would be involved with this, it would be them, much more so than it would be the Governor, because they’re the State agency in charge of public water supplies.

Del Dolemonte on January 21, 2016 at 3:58 PM

This is what happens when you buy a bankrupt company. You also buy all the problems. The State of Michigan, i.e. the new Governor (Snyder) wanted to ‘fix’ the Detroit problem and a law was passed that the state could take over a bankrupt city and appoint an emergency manager. This was supposed to prevent a bond default and a degradation of all other government debt.

So after ‘fixing’ the problems with Detroit, The State of Michigan took over the problems at Flint. Thus it’s Snyder’s baby and he gets the blame. For not fixing it.

Joseph OHenry on January 21, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Still some facts missing… the lead wasn’t in the river… so the water was
‘fine’ … The lead is in houses and apartment buildings and being leached out by the corrosive water. So it took ‘math’ to figure it out.

When the gu’mint was saying the water was fine, they were just looking at it at the source (and they were technically correct). It’s the ‘homeowners’ fault that they had lead pipes… what the f do they expect when they use lead pipes? (i.e. Roman Empire collapse :)

If Obama was a dad, he’d be beside himself… (presumably with … ANGER). He loves to stoke anger. It’s all about a WHITE governor killing BLACK children to him. If there were a race war he’s say, “what do you expect after 300 years of slavery and racism.”

RedManBlueState on January 21, 2016 at 4:55 PM

Still some facts missing… the lead wasn’t in the river… so the water was ‘fine’ … The lead is in houses and apartment buildings and being leached out by the corrosive water. So it took ‘math’ to figure it out.

RedManBlueState on January 21, 2016 at 4:55 PM

However, the 2 parts I bolded are look contradictory to me.
What changed in the water supply to make the lead come out, which apparently wasn’t happening before they changed water supplies?
That tells me there was a difference, and that means the water from the river was not necessarily “fine”.
Back to what I said above at 3:45 – Why doesn’t Flint have a qualified chemist testing the water? Someone who should know what might happen if they started pumping water with a different chemical makeup?

Heck – I’m not a chemist, but I figured out how to maintain a certain balance of pH, alkaline, calcium, and other factors in my hot tub……

dentarthurdent on January 21, 2016 at 5:14 PM

Every article I have seen about this starts the time line much too late, including this one!

Most reporters and commentators start the time line when the governor-appointed emergency manager signs off on the switch to Flint River water in May of 2013. This way, they can peg it to a political appointee appointed by the only Republican in sight.

However, Flint’s moves to switch away from getting water from Detroit to getting water directly from Lake Huron through a new consortium of municipalities called the Karegnondi Water Authority began long before. In March, 2013, the Flint city council voted 7-1 to approve the switch to the KWA. The lone dissenter voted against it because…wait for it…he thought they should be getting water from the…Flint River.

In order to get the water from the KWA, Flint needed to build a pipeline from Huron to their existing water treatment plant, and needed to upgrade that plant to run full time.

So far so good.

But, Detroit is hurting for money, and supplying water to the region was one of the few items on the plus side of their ledger. In fact, that was one reason behind Flint’s desire to break with Detroit. Also-cash-strapped Flint was worried that Detroit would jack up the cost of water to the region in order to help alleviate its budget imbalance.

In an attempt to get Flint to change its mind about the KWA, Detroit announced that it would cut off Flint’s water supply early, in April of 2014. If Detroit had kept that water flowing, Flint could have continued to use Detroit-supplied water until the new pipeline was operational.

Without a supply of water from Detroit, an interim supply was needed and the city turned to the Flint River, and that became the source of Flint’s water starting on April 25, 2014.

The switch-over was a cause for celebration by city officials, as the New York Times reported: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/26/business/detroit-plan-to-profit-on-water-looks-half-empty.html

Sources:
http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2013/03/flint_city_council_again_delay.html

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2013/03/flint_city_council_approves_re.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-02/detroit-water-tussle-avoided-in-flint-pipeline-debt-muni-credit

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2013/04/detroit_gives_notice_its_termi.html

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2013/05/flint_emergency_manager_says_n.html

HakerA on January 21, 2016 at 7:04 PM

However, the 2 parts I bolded are look contradictory to me.
What changed in the water supply to make the lead come out, which apparently wasn’t happening before they changed water supplies?
That tells me there was a difference, and that means the water from the river was not necessarily “fine”.
Back to what I said above at 3:45 – Why doesn’t Flint have a qualified chemist testing the water? Someone who should know what might happen if they started pumping water with a different chemical makeup?

Heck – I’m not a chemist, but I figured out how to maintain a certain balance of pH, alkaline, calcium, and other factors in my hot tub……

dentarthurdent on January 21, 2016 at 5:14 PM

What changed was the PH level. Great Lake water is pretty constant (Detroit water) River water varies more and runs more acidic.

animal02 on January 21, 2016 at 7:25 PM

Hey, in the Animas River case, the EPA acted, dumped three million gallons of crud in the river, and everyone got all pissy.

In the Flint River case, the EPA didn’t act, and kids ended up drinking lead-filled water that looked like kerosene, and everyone got all pissy.

I mean, what do you people expect the EPA to do?

wagnert in atlanta on January 22, 2016 at 11:34 AM

I mean, what do you people expect the EPA to do?

wagnert in atlanta on January 22, 2016 at 11:34 AM

They should just go away – they’re useless.

dentarthurdent on January 22, 2016 at 12:29 PM

What changed was the PH level. Great Lake water is pretty constant (Detroit water) River water varies more and runs more acidic.

animal02 on January 21, 2016 at 7:25 PM

I get that – but pH can be adjusted.
And I still say Flint should have had a chemist (on staff or outsourced contract) that could have told them that, told them what might happen because of the difference, and told them how to fix it.
But given that it’s a Dem run city, I’m not surprised they make bad decisions with no consideration for long term consequences.

dentarthurdent on January 22, 2016 at 12:32 PM