Flint Water Crisis

Flint's State Employees Got Clean Water—A Year Before Everyone Else

Government helps government, not people.


Michigan's government installed coolers filled with purified water inside Flint's State Office building so that state employees could drink clean water—more than a year before officials admitted to the common people of Flint that their water was unsafe.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder did not admit that Flint's water source was contaminated with lead until earlier this year. But government employees who complained about dirty water received aid from Michigan's Department of Technology, Management and Budget on January 7, 2015.

A liberal activist group, Progress Michigan, discovered the state's rank hypocrisy in a review of emails from the Department of Environmental Quality, a state regulatory agency that deserves no small amount of blame for mismanaging Flint's water crisis. According to The Detroit Free Press:

A Jan. 7, 2015, notice from the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget, which oversees state office buildings, references a notice about a violation of drinking water standards that had recently been sent out by the City of Flint.

"While the City of Flint states that corrective actions are not necessary, DTMB is in the process of providing a water cooler on each occupied floor, positioned near the water fountain, so you can choose which water to drink," said the notice.

The coolers will arrive today and will be provided as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements."

Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for DTMB, said the water coolers were provided in response to the city health notice in late December or early January, which he acknowledged was about a contamination issue the city said had already subsided. The state continued to provide the coolers of purified water, right up to today, because "there were more findings as we went along," Buhs said.

No one can accuse state officials of failing to look out for their own, I suppose. Non-government residents of Flint, on the other hand, were left to consume toxic water for an additional year. What a powerful blow to the idea that government's purpose is to serve the people.

In any case, Flint's non-government class is finally drinking clean water, and they have some private corporations to thank for that.

Related: The Flint Water Crisis Is the Result of a Stimulus Project Gone Wrong