A new civil suit targets two companies that “failed miserably” in their jobs to treat the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, leading to a crisis that exposed thousands to lead-tainted water.
Michigan’s attorney general is now suing French water company Veolia and Texas engineering services firm Lockwood, Andrews and Newman (LAN). The city of Flint had hired the companies to assist the city in its water treatment process.
“They failed miserably in their job, basically botched it, didn’t stop the water in Flint from being poisoned,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Wednesday. “They made it worse. That’s what they did.”
At one point, 40 percent of Flint homes were had elevated levels of lead.
Veolia, which began its work with Flint in February 2015, allegedly produced a report and public presentation saying the city’s drinking water was “in compliance with State and Federal regulations.” However, it “failed to recognize the ongoing corrosion in lead pipes” or “the resulting public health crisis,” according to a statement issued by Schuette’s office.
LAN, which Flint hired in 2013, failed to install or address corrosion control as it helped the city water plant prepare to treat new water sources, according to Schuette. The company produced multiple reports that failed to identify the corrosive water or the lead in the water.
The charges listed in the lawsuit include professional negligence, public nuisance, and fraud.
These are the first civil charges announced by the Flint Investigation Team, which Schuette is leading. The team had previously announced criminal charges against three Flint city employees in April 2016.
Schuette said more charges are still to come.
The charges, he added, “are an effort, a pathway to rebuild and restore trust and confidence in government to families of Flint and indeed to the families and taxpayers across Michigan.”