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4 years ago today, Flint shut off its water pipeline from Detroit. Here's what happened next.

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Switching to the Flint River would turn out to be a disaster for the city of Flint.

"After a brief delay, the city of Flint will finally start getting its drinking water exclusively from the Flint River starting this afternoon." 

Four years ago, on April 25, 2014, Michigan Radio reported that Flint had officially switched its water from Detroit to the Flint River.

Three months later, complaintsabout the city's water quality began to escalate.

Today, millions of dollars have been spent to alleviate the problem. Flint residents still say they don't trust the water. 15 state and local officials face criminal charges stemming from the crisis.

Learn more: TIMELINE: Here's how the Flint water crisis unfolded

Michigan Radio has been there since the beginning. Below are just a few highlights from our extensive coverage of over 1,000 stories (and counting):

April 25, 2014: Flint plans to shut off water pipeline from Detroit today

In an effort to save money, Flint city official made the decision to tap the Flint River, with a long-term plan to finally switch to the Huron River. Now, after a long battle among officials, the city is back on Detroit water.

September 24, 2015: Flint pediatricians raise alarm about lead levels in city water

"The water in Flint is likely poisoning kids." Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician with Hurley Children’s Hospital, reported elevated lead levels in the blood of Flint children over one year after complaints about the water began.

September 25, 2015: Have you missed parts of the Flint water story? Here's a quick rundown.

This rundown features descriptions of various terms that were used most often in regards to the crisis, including discoloration, trihalomethane, and, of course, lead.

October 6, 2015: Flint had no plan to minimize lead corrosion in people's drinking water post river switch

Michigan Radio's Rebecca Williams and Lindsey Smith wondered whether the city was doing anything to prevent the pipe corrosion that scientists believed was causing high lead levels in Flint's children. They found that the city was unprepared to deal with the issue.

December 16, 2015: "Not Safe to Drink," a documentary by Michigan Radio

This award-winning audio documentary from Michigan Radio revealed how the Flint water crisis unfolded, and the widespread effect the poisoned water had on the city's residents. Listen to the full doc in the link above, or listen in the three parts below:

December 21, 2015: Virginia Tech researcher accuses state health officials of "hiding" data on Flint's water

Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards said documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show Department of Health and Human Services employees tried to hide evidence that matched the increased lead levels in children found by doctors at Hurley Medical Center.

January 21, 2016: Why didn't state officials heed the warnings in Flint?

After Governor Rick Snyder apologized to the people of Flint in his 2016 State of the State address, Michigan Radio's Mark Brush and Rebecca Williams wanted to know if the work cultures at MDEQ and MDHHS contributed to the crisis.

April 26, 2017: Three years after man-made disaster, Flint filter teams try to keep residents safe

Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith went out with a team of Flint residents as they tried to install faucet filters in homes throughout the city.

June 14, 2017: How Flint's Legionnaires' disease outbreak led to 5 charges of involuntary manslaughter

In 2014 and 2015, Genesee County saw 90 cases of Legionnaires' disease, leading to 12 deaths. Some scientists blamed the outbreak on the 2014 switch to the Flint municipal water system. The main concern, and the issue that led to the charges now facing officials, was that the public was not officially notified about the outbreak until January 2016. 

June 16, 2017: These are the 15 people charged for their connection to the Flint water crisis

State Attorney General Bill Schuette's now two-year investigation into the Flint water crisis has charged 15 current and former state and local officials with 51 criminal charges for their role that led to the crisis, including charges against MDHHS director Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells.

November 2017: Ripple Effects of the Flint Water Crisis

The Flint water crisis has had ramifications far beyond the city, and many other Michigan communities are now trying to avoid their own water crisis, especially those with lead water service lines. This series by Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith looks at how those cities are - or are not - preparing to make changes of their own.

Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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