By last January, people in Flint, Michigan, knew something was wrong with their water. It smelled and tasted bad. It was the color of rust. And they’d already been told it was contaminated with chemicals that can cause cancer.
Publicly, the state insisted all this was nothing to worry about. Privately, they made sure their own employees wouldn’t have to drink Flint’s water.
After a notice went out informing Flint residents that their water had unacceptable levels of total trihalomethanes — a chlorine byproduct that can cause cancer — the Flint office of the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget installed water coolers, according to an email obtained by Progress Michigan.