Questions continue, lawsuits filed and the Flint water crisis persists

Posted at 10:53 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 22:53:30-05

FLINT, Mich -- A class-action lawsuit was filed against Gov. Snyder, the state government, and the City of Flint in relation to the water crisis and high levels of lead the water contained.

Although the governor has deployed the National Guard to help hand out supplies and has apologized for what's happening in Genesee County, many say, it's not enough.

On Thursday, protesters traveled to Lansing, calling for Governor Snyder's resignation  as the Flint water crisis and concerns over lead poisoning continue to escalate.

The problems in Flint came to light in 2014 after the city started getting its water from the Flint River, opposed to Detroit's water supply.

At the time, it was touted under the state-appointed financial manager as a "cost-cutting measure," but now, many wonder how long state officials knew about the lead.

"At this point, the governor needs to do something..... We need some help, we need some help right now," said Flint's Mayor, Karen Weaver.

Across the state, communities are pulling together to help aide Flint replenish a clean water supply.

There are hundreds of people going door to door in Flint, donating clean water, water filters and lead testing kits.

The National Guard is also helping out in the city, distributing supplies at local fire stations.

But it's not just officials helping out. This website shows a Girl Scout Brownie troop that not only made homemade water filters but sent letters to Gov. Snyder himself, writing that they are "worried about the kids in Flint.'

Yet many say help is coming two years too late.

"Yeah, they did take a long time because now we don't know, people are catching disease, people are getting sick, they're swelling up," said Linda West, a Flint resident.

Where it all began

Reports started coming out two years ago, regarding high levels of lead in children's blood.

It comes after Flint switched from Detroit's water supply to the Flint River in an effort to save money.

It was then residents noticed their water had a strange look and smell, but they say they were told the water was safe.

In October, Governor Snyder announced Flint would go back to getting its water from Detroit.

This month, Snyder declared a 'State of Emergency' in Flint and announced the creation of a new committee to see how bad the city's water is and what can be done about it.

"This is a precedent setting event in terms of what has happened to this community and in terms of what we are trying to do in terms of not only to intervene but to prevent this from happening anywhere else in the world," said Mark Valacak, Director of the Genesee County Health Department.

Meanwhile, the question remains, who knew what and when.

"I don't discourage the U.S. Attorney from investigating. I think it's actually a good thing. It should be investigated. Lets get the answers," said Governor Snyder.

Experts estimate it will cost more than a billion dollars when all is 'said and done'.

Meanwhile, as the investigation into the water crisis and alleged cover-up continues, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has announced a spike in Legionnaires Disease in Genessee County over the past two summers.  There has been 10 deaths also reported.

Legionnaires Disease is a respiratory disease caused by bacteria found in things like hot tubs and stale water.

So far, they're not confirming if it's related to the water crisis in Flint.

Turning to the feds

Governor Snyder requested President Obama to declare both an emergency and an expedited major disaster for Genesee County. Snyder is asking for supplementary federal aid in the form of Individual Assistance and Public Assistance.

“We are utilizing all state resources to ensure Flint residents have access to clean and safe drinking water and today I am asking President Obama to provide additional resources as our recovery efforts continue,” Snyder said.

The federal aid can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help people and businesses to recover.

The request will be reviewed by FEMA, and ultimately it will be up to the president to determine whether to provide federal assistance.

There's a water donation drive set for this Saturday in Grand Rapids. For more information click here.

For more information on the issues going on in Flint: click here, or go to: