SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) - Emails released by a watchdog group says the state government knew there was a problem with Flint water and even provided water for its own employees while simultaneously telling residents that it was safe to drink.
Governor Rick Snyder and state officials have been criticized for being slow to help the people of Flint deal with lead-tainted water.
Newly released emails from the watchdog group Progress Michigan show the Snyder adminstration was trucking in water coolers to its state office building in Flint months before residents were told it was unsafe to drink. In April of 2014 the emergency manager switched the city's water supply to the flint river to cut costs but a lack of corrosion controls caused the pipes to leach lead.
How much earlier did they know there were problems with the water? Lonnie Scott says it was almost a full year.
"It shows what we've assumed all along: that there was no way that the governor's administration didn't know earlier that there were real issues with the water," Scotts said. "They had to be acknowledging that there were some real issues with the water in that building in Flint. It was a full 10 months before they governor claims that they really knew there was an issue and started to take action."
"Evidence shows the Synder administration knew there was a problem 10 months before admitting to it," Scotts said.
After those water coolers were delivered, the state did issue a $2 million grant to help with the water system infrastructure. The latest figures now estimate it will cost nearly $800 million dollars to replace it. Until that happens water drives will likely continue, proving care and concern from near and far.
That's where people like Walter Sheppard come in. He spent his Friday morning at Southfield City Hall where he was carting in cases of bottled water.
"Our slogan is the City of Southfield the center if that means every thing that goes on around us so we are initating, through the Human Services Department, a water drive," Sheppard said. "We just wanted to do something a little something so five cases of water is just a drop in bucket. Everybody, if they drop a little here, a bottle of water here, a case of water here it can go along ways."
Southfield is taking water donations through February 10 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. You can drop off water at Southfield City Hall, Human Services Department, and the Southfield Library.