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Michigan Attorney General sues 3 companies connected to the Flint water crisis

Michigan AG Bill Schuette
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Michigan AG Bill Schuette announces civil suits against three companies involved in the Flint water crisis.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that his office has filed a civil suit against three companies involved in the Flint water crisis.

The suit names Veolia North America, Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, and Leo A. Daly Co. as defendants.

Schuette said these companies "botched the job" when it came to providing safe drinking water to Flint.

"Their negligence and their failure to act, and their activities contributed to the poisoning of the water," Schuette said.

Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam was hired in June 2013 to help the city with the switch from Detroit water to water from the Flint River. LAN was hired to figure out a way to equip the Flint water treatment plant to treat the water from the river.

Attorney General Schuette says adding corrosion control chemicals to the river water was not part of their plan. Leo A. Daly Co. is the parent company of LAN. 

Soon after the switch to the Flint River, the problems with Flint's drinking water began. 

Veolia was later brought in to help the city correct the problems with the water. The company told the city the water was safe.

"The more I discover the who, when, where, how in the Flint water crisis, the angrier I get," said Schuette when making the announcement.

Special Prosecutor Noah Hall is leading up the civil case for Attorney General Schuette. He said the same day Veolia made the announcement that they would take a comprehensive look at the city's water supply -- from treatment plant to tap, Lee-Anne Walters' home tested at extremely high levels of lead.

"There's no way [Veolia] can rewrite history and say we didn't know about lead in people's homes," said Hall.

It was later revealed that people in Flint were being exposed to elevated levels of lead by drinking their tap water.

Schuette said the damages "could be hundreds of millions," and they would prove the damages.

Both LAN and Veolia issued statements refuting Schuette's claims.

In a statement, LAN said, "the Attorney General has blatantly mischaracterized the role of LAN’s service to Flint ...," and in their statement, Veolia said, "the company is disappointed that the Attorney General has taken this action and will vigorously defend itself against these unwarranted allegations of wrongdoing."

LAN said the company, even though they were never asked, "had regularly advised that corrosion control should be added and that the system needed to be fully tested before going online."

Both companies pointed to the Flint Water Advisory Task Force findings that the state and the MDEQ were to blame for the crisis in Flint.

*This post was last updated at 5 p.m.

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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