A new investigation into the 2016 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has resulted in pending charges against the former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director Nick Lyon, other ex-officials, and Rich Baird, a friend who was the Governor’s key troubleshooter while in office.
The Republican Governor was in power when state-appointed managers in Flint switched the city’s water to the Flint River in 2014.
Nearly 100,000 residents however were poisoned from the water that was not treated to reduce corrosion — a disastrous decision affirmed by state regulators that caused lead to leach from old pipes and spoil the distribution system.
This was a cost-saving step while a pipeline was being built to Lake Huron however,
During his 2016 State speech, Snyder apologized for the catastrophe and said the government at all levels had failed Flint.
This disaster was a symbol of governmental mismanagement that had residents lining up for bottled water for fear of drinking from the tap.
Lead can damage the brain and nervous system and cause learning and behavior problems. The crisis was highlighted as an example of environmental injustice and racism.
Bacteria from the water was also blamed for an outbreak of Legionnaires’. Legionella bacteria can emerge through misting and cooling systems, triggering a severe form of pneumonia, especially in people with weakened immune systems.
In Genesee County, there were at least 90 cases including 12 deaths.
Latest reports show that the State of Michigan, Flint, McLaren Flint Hospital, and an engineering firm have agreed to a $641 million settlement with residents over the water crisis, with $600 million coming from Michigan.
A judge is considering whether to grant preliminary approval.