NewsFlint Water Crisis


Flint water crisis lawsuit dismissed

Posted at 6:16 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2021-01-14 15:59:38-05

A class-action lawsuit over Flint's contaminated water was dismissed Tuesday, with the judge saying constitutional claims by residents are barred by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara said he wasn't making a decision on the merits of the lawsuit, which is one of dozens filed over lead in Flint's drinking water. But he said residents can't pursue a remedy for civil rights violations in the matter, due to federal law and rulings by higher courts.

Residents accused Flint and state officials of violating their rights by providing contaminated water and requiring payment. The city, under a state-appointed manager, switched from using Detroit's water source to the Flint River but didn't add corrosion controls, causing lead to leach from old plumbing.

"Plaintiffs' allegations are addressed by regulations that have been promulgated" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under federal water law, O'Meara said.

A message seeking comment was left with residents' attorney, William Murphy Jr.

Also Tuesday, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver she is not impressed by Gov. Rick Snyder's pledge to drink Flint tap water that's run through a government-approved filter for a month.

"Lucky for him that he can drink filtered water, because we've been dealing with this for two years, and we were drinking it when it wasn't filtered," Weaver said, adding that she believes — despite the state's reassurances — that it's too early to tell city residents it's OK to drink filtered tap water.

"If the governor really wanted to know what it's like to deal with the situation we're in ... he needs to come and stay here for 30 days and live with us and see what it's like to have to use bottled or filtered water when you want to cook and when you want to drink and when you want to brush your teeth," Weaver said.

Snyder made his pledge Monday. He told reporters Tuesday during a tourism conference in Lansing that Weaver "has her own perspective" and is "entitled to her opinion."

"I was asked to do this by a lot of residents, by the press, so I'm just following through on what I was asked to do," he said of drinking and cooking with filtered Flint water. Living or staying in Flint for 30 days is not practical, Snyder said.