Flint water scandal: Snyder apologizes, DEQ director resigns

- Gov. Rick Snyder says he's sorry for Flint's water crisis as one of his top appointees resigns. 

The director of the state's department of environmental quality Dan Wyant resigned.

Wyant was in charge of keeping the water safe. When Flint switched its drinking water source from Lake Huron water supplied by detroit...to the flint river - to save money -- corrosion flowed through the pipes.

Tests showed elevated levels of lead in the city's drinking water back in June. But the state didn't take action until October after blood testing showed high lead levels in Flint's children.

Snyder's office issued a press release Tuesday:

"I want the Flint community to know how very sorry I am that this has happened," he said. "And I want all Michigan citizens to know that we will learn from this experience, because Flint is not the only city that has an aging infrastructure.

"When I became aware that the city of Flint's water showed elevated lead levels and that the state's handling of the situation was being questioned," he said. "I requested funding to switch the source back to the Great Lakes Water Authority and appointed an independent task force to identify possible missteps and areas for improvement.

"The task force has done an exceptional job, reviewing stacks of documents and interviewing scores of Flint, Genesee County, state and federal officials … We'll continue to work with the community members to make sure we hear and respond to their concerns.

"MDEQ Director Dan Wyant has offered his resignation, and I've determined that it's appropriate to accept it. I'm also making other personnel changes at MDEQ to address problems cited by the task force."

In a previous FOX 2 report it was discovered a year after the city began using the Flint River as its water source; a local hospital's study found the number of Flint kids under the age of 5 years old with above average lead levels nearly doubled city-wide and in some cases, tripled.

Virginia Tech University tested resident Ronda Thornton's water. Anything more than 30 micrograms a liter is a sign of serious lead contamination. Hers registered 138.

"I know many Flint citizens are angry and want more than an apology," Snyder said. "That's why I'm taking the actions today to ensure a culture of openness and trust. We've already allocated $10 million to test the water, distribute water filters, and help in other ways. Last week, I called Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, and we're going to meet soon to discuss other ways the state can offer assistance."

"But changes in leadership and staff are not enough. I understand there can be disagreements within the scientific community. That is why I have directed both the departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services to invite every external scientist who has worked on this issue to be our partners in helping us improve Flint water. Let's share research on water and blood lead level testing so we can arrive at accurate and mutually supported conclusions. Together, we should work to affirm that we're using the very best testing protocols to ensure Flint residents have safe drinking water and that we're taking steps to protect their health over the short and long term."

"These are only initial steps - we fully expect to take more actions following the recommendations of our task force. When it comes to matters of health and quality of life, we're committed to doing everything we can to protect the well-being of our citizens."

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