Activists, politicians speak before committee, residents on wate - WNEM TV 5

Activists, politicians speak before committee, residents on water crisis

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Doctor Mona Hanna-Attisha testifies (Source: WNEM) Doctor Mona Hanna-Attisha testifies (Source: WNEM)
Dr. Mark Valacak testifies (Source: WNEM) Dr. Mark Valacak testifies (Source: WNEM)

Activists and politicians spoke in Flint as the state continued its investigation into the cause of the water crisis.

"I'm deeply sorry that this crisis ever happened," said former mayor Dayne Walling. "I fault myself every day for not figuring it out sooner." 

Walling asked for forgiveness for his part in Flint's ongoing water crisis.

"We all have to recognize that tragedy like this leaves a permanent mark on those who are most affected, and I am sorry that I was in office during the start of this water crisis," Walling said.

Flint resident and activist Lee Ann Walters detailed the obstacles she said she encountered while trying to prove the water coming into her home was dangerous. She said she showed brown water samples to officials and was told she was a liar and was stupid.

She also said Flint city officials told her she’d have to sign a no harm agreement before replacing lead service lines at her home, something she refused to do.

Walters said her son was diagnosed with lead poisoning and her whole family is dealing with health issues due to the water.

From her experiences, Walters said city residents don't trust the city, state or EPA.

"As far as my kids go, I'm always going to get emotional when I talk about my kids," Walters said. "They are my whole life. They just didn't mess with me, they messed with my entire life and that is why I haven't backed down and that is why I won't back down."

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha told the committee about the road blocks she faced getting access to records she wanted to investigate the possible lead crisis.

She said the children of Flint are not a "throw-away" generation. But they need help so they can thrive. 

Hanna-Attisha said there is a need for long-term nutrition for Flint residents, especially children, especially in light of the lack of full-service grocery stores in the city.

New revelations about lead contaminated water have cropped up across the United States since Flint was put in the national spotlight. 

But Hanna-Attisha said, "No other state was poisoned by policy."

Flint's Public Works Administrator Mike Glascow said he knew the city was moving in the wrong direction when they made the switch, but his concerns were ignored.

"Maybe I didn't speak up loud enough or yell loud enough, but the more I think about it, no one wanted to hear," Glascow said. "They just didn't want to believe it."

Dr. Mark Valacak, director of the Genesee County Health Department, defended the county's response to the water crisis. In regards to questions about Legionella, Valacak said "we were guilty for trusting the state."

A spokesperson for Gov. Rick Snyder accounted for his absence at the hearing saying the governor is focused on fixing Flint's problems by focusing on the work to be done.

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