State employee raises questions over dirty water in Detroit's New Center Area
DETROIT (WJBK) - A state employee is coming clean about dirty water in a government building in Detroit's New Center Area.
The nearby Henry Ford Hospital put everyone on notice and now a state employee is wondering why his building didn't do the same.
FOX 2 was informed late Thursday night that test results have shown the water is now safe, but all day Thursday, Henry Ford Hospital was using bottled water, just in case. While down the street it was a different story - two other commercial buildings were affected, Cadillac Place and the Fisher building.
Employees at both places say they are concerned because little, to no action, was taken until the water was given the all-clear.
"It makes me ashamed to be a state employee honestly," the employee said.
This employee of the state of Michigan works inside the Cadillac Place building, one of three New Center Area buildings have been impacted by a water issue Thursday morning.
"We're servants to the state of Michigan," he said. "We should put the health and safety of the people we are serving above all else."
Sediment in the pipes temporarily turned the water brown, caused by the nearby M-1 rail construction project. For a time, it was unknown if the water was safe.
"There was no sense of urgency in this, and they weren't even informing guests," the employee said.
Instead, he says, a secret meeting was held for select state employees, telling them not to drink or use the water. He also says they were also told to keep the issue on the down low, to avoid any further bad rap after the water crisis in Flint.
"The initial meeting happened at 10 a.m. that's when we found out about it," the employee said. "Around 1 p.m. we were told that bottled water and hand sanitizer was on its way, but there were still no notifications anywhere on the building.
"I caught a couple contractors down in the lobby to let them know this issue was going on, they were never (made) aware of this."
FOX 2 went inside Cadillac Place and also found no signs informing anyone of the water concerns and pending safety tests. We also didn't find any notices posted at the Fisher building.
Meanwhile at Henry Ford Hospital, extra precautions were put in place until test results came back clear. All tap water was off limits and bottled water provided instead.
What was even more concerning to this state employee, was how he claims he was ordered to cover up any proof of this state department's concerns.
"They said if you have any questions throughout the day, to come meet with the supervisor in person versus doing any email correspondence," the employee said.
FOX 2: "They didn't want it in writing?"
"Correct," said the employee.
FOX 2 reached it to the state, but is still waiting on a response. While this state employee says talking to the media is a direct violation of his job, and could get him fired, still, he says, it's worth the risk.
"It seems like they were putting the reputation of the state of Michigan above the health and safety of the employees," the man said.
Back at Henry Ford Hospital officials are telling us the water is safe and they are back to normal water use in the hospital. They did run some separate tests on the Center For Athletic Medicine - those test results are expected back Friday morning.
This was one department of many belonging to the state in the building, FOX 2 has reached out for comment but has not heard back.