More than 500 Flint residents join lawsuit against EPA - WNEM TV 5

More than 500 Flint residents join lawsuit against EPA

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

The Environmental Protection Agency is the latest target in a class action lawsuit stemming from the Flint water crisis.

This represents the first time a federal agency is being directly blamed for its role in the wide-spread lead contamination.

Hundreds of Flint residents have filed claims in the lawsuit, which claims the EPA blatantly ignored public health issues at the start of the crisis.

Antoinette Baker, one of the residents taking legal action against the EPA, said her and her family are victims of the water crisis. She signed up to be part of the lawsuit on April 26.

The federal agency is being sued for up to $220 million by more than 500 Flint residents.

"They told us lies," Baker said.

The lawsuit alleges the EPA was told in June 2015 by its own water expert, Miguel Del Toral, the lead contamination was systematic and injurious to the health and safety of Flint's families and children.

The suit claims as early as February 2015, Del Toral informed the EPA it was questionable whether the state department of environmental quality of the city of Flint were using corrosion control with the delivery of the Flint River water.

The suit also said Flint resident Jan Burgess reported to the EPA a major environmental violation in October 2014. That violation stemmed from the switch to the Flint River.

The lawsuit claims a timely investigation would have caused the EPA to take action, but no investigation took place until April of 2016.

Mayor Karen Weaver supports the lawsuit.

"Well, one of the things we know is there's responsibility at that level as well. We've talked about needing state funds. We've also talked about needing federal funds and they played a role in this situation as well and it may not have been as great as the state's role, but there was a role that the federal government played," Weaver said.

As for Baker, she's like a lot of people who believe the EPA betrayed her trust. Now her family is dealing with the consequences.

"Rashes, headaches, high blood pressure," she said.

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