How did the Flint water crisis begin and what will it mean for the families who drank the water?

(WXYZ) - The evidence is overwhelming - state and federal officials failed to protect something we all take for granted: tap water.

People in Flint have been drinking water that tests have shown is laced with lead snd detrimental health effects are already happening.

It could have been prevented. 

It was caused by money, or a lack of it - Detroit had raised its rates.

On April 30, 2014 Flint disconnected from the Detroit water system as a temporary move until a new water system being built from Lake Huron is done in 2016.

The final decision to disconnect was made by then Emergency Manager Darnell Earley who was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder. Earley is currently running Detroit Public Schools as EM.

The back up plan was to use Flint River water and a water treatment plant that had not been used on a regular basis for some 50 years.

It turns out lead was getting into the water because of improper treatment of the river water, which is more corrosive and causes lead to leach from pipes and solder in pipes.

The lead was not discovered by government tests. It was discovered by families, voluntary researchers from Virginia Tech and Hurley Medical Center in Flint.

Governor Rick Snyder finally came to Flint last month with a financial plan to reconnect Flint to Detroit water.  But the damage has been done. 

People want investigations, accountability and action.

7 Action News Investigator Jim Kiertzner spent 23 years working in the media in Flint before coming to Detroit a decade ago.

This is Part One of the Flint Water Emergency. Friday at 6:00 pm on 7 Action News, Jim looks at the people in a position to get accountability and answers. 

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