FLINT (CBS DETROIT/AP) – Governor Rick Snyder is among several public officials named in a class action lawsuit stemming from the water crisis in Flint.
Three Flint residents accuse Governor Snyder, the State, former Mayor Dayne Walling, former Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former Flint Public Works Director Howard Croft and the city of Flint of breach of contract for not providing drinkable water in the class action lawsuit filed in Genesee County.
The suit also alleges a violation of the Consumer Protection Act because city and state leaders said the water was suitable for drinking.
Meanwhile, an official at the Genesee County health department says the agency has been “bombarded” with phone calls from anxious residents, a day after state officials said the number of Legionnaires’ disease cases had increased.
Chief health officer Mark Valacak tells The Associated Press that he “had no idea” that Gov. Rick Snyder was holding a news conference Wednesday to disclose the findings. Valacak says his department hasn’t made a direct link between Flint water and bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. State officials haven’t made one either.
Valacak says it “would have been nice” if the county health department had been given advance notice. He says Flint already is stressed.
Valacak says Legionnaires’ disease isn’t associated with drinking tainted water. People can get sick if they inhale mist or vapor from contaminated water systems.
Flint’s tap water became contaminated with too much lead after the city switched its water supply in 2014 to save money while under state financial management. Local officials first declared a public health emergency in October in response to tests that showed children with elevated levels of lead.
Now, Michigan State University and a Flint hospital are putting a team together to keep a long-term eye on Flint’s lead problem, from offering nutrition tips to residents to health monitoring.
The effort will be led by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who is credited with sounding the alarm last year about high levels of lead in children.
Drinking water that lacked treatment for corrosion caused lead to leach from old plumbing in Flint for about 18 months.
The decision was made while a Snyder-appointed emergency manager was running city government in Flint. It was the first time in over 50 years that the city was not using water from Detroit.
Hanna-Attisha, a doctor at Hurley Medical Center, says she wants to bring “hope” to a community that’s “traumatized.”
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