Did the MDEQ break the law in Flint water crisis?
DETROIT – Dan Wyant is the biggest name to be out of work as a result of the Flint water crisis.
Wyant resigned from his position as director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) back in December 2015. He has refused interviews and wasn't home Thursday when the Local 4 Defenders showed up at his home in Lansing.
Wyant had little choice but to step down as new documents released by Gov. Rick Snyder confirmed what the Defenders have been reporting: The MDEQ ignored three separate crucial warnings from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expert Miguel Del Toral which state the city of Flint could contaminate its water supply if officials failed to use corrosive control measures. The first warning came in February 2015. The second, more serious warning was in April 2015 and the third, which was a five-page memo, came in June 2015.
A recently released email from the MDEQ dated October 2015 shows a MDEQ staff member alerted Snyder's staff:
"It appears DEQ staffers have essentially downplayed or ignored warning signs from EPA's water expert, Miguel Del Toral," the staffer wrote.
Moreover, the following is from an auditor general report dated Dec. 23, 2015:
"There is an email from Steve Busch, Jackson and Lansing District Supervisor, Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance, indicating that the City was practicing a corrosion control program."
The MDEQ later admitted to Del Toral it was not using corrosion control. Today, they are calling it a miscommunication, insisting Busch meant to say they were monitoring the water.
As late as Sept. 17, 2015, then MDEQ Director Wyant put out a memo defending his staff. He said Flint was meeting drinking water standards. He then resigned on Dec. 29, 2015.
MDEQ staffers told a state task force that they misunderstood federal rules and regulations but did not intend to mislead anyone. Now, a far more serious federal probe is underway where they and dozens of other state officials most likely will be testifying under oath.
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