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Lawyer says lead poisoning in Flint kids could revive lawsuit against city


Clean-water activists hope new information about high lead levels in kids could revive a lawsuit against the city of Flint.

The attorney for a Flint group says she'll amend the complaint to force the city back to Detroit's water system.

That's in light of new information about high lead levels in kids since the city switched to the Flint River for tap water.

Trachelle Young's lawsuit on behalf of the Coalition for Clean Water was dismissed earlier this month.

But Young says this new information could revive it.

“We are working on filing an amendment,” she said. “We are considering a class action. But we are not going to drop this matter until the city residents have safe, clean water that they can drink, and cook, and shower with."

Flint started pumping from the Flint River in April of 2014 while the city transitions to a new system that will draw water from Lake Huron.

Complaints surfaced early on about the water's taste and smell. Boil-water advisories soon followed, as the city tried to get on top of E. coli contamination. Then, the city received a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act because of high levels of chemicals in the water. 

Now, lead is the concern. Researchers have found that the corrosive nature of Flint River water, coupled with the fact that the city (under the supervision of the state Department of Environmental Quality) never put corrosion controls in place when the switch happened, have resulted in water that eats away the lead in service lines and household plumbing.

"What we're saying is give us safe water until that pipeline is completed,” says Young.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Public's Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.
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