FATEFUL MOMENT

Michigan ‘Declined’ Flint Corrosion Plan

In the weeks before the city of Flint began getting its water from the Flint River in April 2014, Michigan officials were offered—and passed on—a corrosion-control plan, according to an AP report. “You don’t need to monitor phosphate because you’re not required to add it,” Michigan Department of Environmental Quality representative Mike Prysby is said to have told Mike Glasgow, the city plant’s lab supervisor at the time. Phosphate normally would have been added to prevent corrosion in lead pipes. Glasgow said he was surprised by those instructions, as treating drinking water with anti-corrosive chemicals is standard practice. In an interview with the AP, Glasgow said he later realized that exchange was a fateful moment. “I did have some concerns and misgivings at first,” he later said. “But unfortunately, now that I look back, I relied on engineers and the state regulators to kind of direct the decision. I looked at them as having more knowledge than myself.” Lee-Anne Walters, who has helped bring official attention to the high lead levels after they were discovered at her own home, told reporters that hearing about those instructions made her “nauseous.” She added, “That one meeting was the difference between this city being poisoned and not being poisoned.”