Document: Michigan restricted Flint from switching water in loan deal


LANSING, Mich. – A document shows that the state of Michigan blocked Flint from switching to a better water source under the terms of a $7 million loan to transition the city from state management.

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon said Wednesday that Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's administration forced the "dirty water deal" despite it knowing of serious problems with the Flint River water. It obtained the document through a public records request.

Full coverage: Flint Water Crisis

"The deal was clear that they could not switch back to Detroit water ... even as Flint citizens were begging them to do so," said Dillon. "This is unconscionable, given what we know about the safety of Flint water at the time."

The city council voted in March 2015 to "do all things necessary" to stop using the Flint River and reconnect to Detroit's Lake Huron water, but the state-appointed emergency manager said no. The loan agreement a month later said Flint needed state permission to switch.

State spokesman Terry Stanton says provisions were added to keep Flint on "solid financial footing."

The improperly treated Flint River water has caused lead to leach from aging pipes.