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The Environmental Protection Agency had the authority and information to issue an emergency order protecting residents of Flint, Mich., from lead-tainted water a full seven months before it did so, an EPA internal investigation has concluded.
"It is clear that EPA intervention was delayed," the report from the EPA's inspector general states. "These situations should generate a greater sense of urgency."
By June 2015, the EPA regional office "had information that the city of Flint exceeded the lead level at which corrosion control is required, and that Flint was not using a corrosion inhibitor." It also knew that testing showed high levels of lead in at least four homes. Finally, the regional office "knew that the state and local authorities were not acting quickly to protect human health."
That is enough to issue an emergency order, the report says. Such action "could have required the city and state to provide alternative water supplies to affected residents, study the extent and severity of lead contamination within the water system, or immediately begin corrective actions to reduce and eliminate lead contamination in the drinking water system."
More details here.
Source: The Detroit News