March 01, 2017

Flint, Michigan: An essential lesson for state drinking water regulators

David K. Mears

As is often true during a public crisis, the long-running saga of lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, has generated significant finger-pointing. Undoubtedly, there is plenty of blame to go around among federal, state, and local agencies and officials for their failure to ensure that Flint’s citizens have access to clean, safe drinking water. One agency, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, has been singled out for particular criticism. A report by the Michigan Governor’s Flint Water Advisory Task Force was unsparing in its critique, stating that the department “failed in its fundamental responsibility to effectively enforce drinking water regulations.”

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