Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency for Flint and Genesee County Tuesday as a result of the contaminated drinking water crisis, on the same day the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed it is investigating the contamination of Flint’s drinking water supply.
Snyder’s office issued a news release late Tuesday saying the governor made the declaration “due to the ongoing health and safety issues caused by lead in the city of Flint’s drinking water” and activated the state Emergency Operations Center.
Flint’s drinking water became contaminated with lead in 2014 after switching its supply source from Lake Huron to the more polluted and corrosive Flint River. The move — a cost-cutting measure while the city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager — resulted in a spike in lead levels in children, which causes permanent brain damage. A recent preliminary report from a task force appointed by Snyder placed most of the blame on the state Department of Environmental Quality and prompted the Dec. 29 resignation of DEQ Director Dan Wyant.