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In Flint, between 6,000 and 12,000 children have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead and they may experience a range of serious health problems.Several lawsuits have been filed against government officials on the issue, and several investigations have been opened.The DWSD expected that Flint would reimburse the investments for the water system that benefited regional customers.Flint and Genesee County rejected such responsibility, but indicated their willingness to purchase pipelines.
Flint refused, insisting that KWA was the best water supplier.On January 5, 2016, the city was declared to be in a state of emergency by the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, before President Barack Obama declared it to be in a federal state of emergency, authorizing additional help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security less than two weeks later.Four government officials—one from the city of Flint, two from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and one from the Environmental Protection Agency—resigned over the mishandling of the crisis, and one additional MDEQ staff member was fired.DWSD argued that Flint could not spend more money on a new water system and that Lake Huron’s system was more efficient.On April 1, 2013, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department demanded that the state deny Flint's request, as it would start a water war, which would essentially hurt DWSD.
From 2012 to 2016, the CDC set a "reference level" of 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/d L), in order to target for case management the 2.5% of young American children with the highest blood-lead levels. Among the many ways lead can enter a modern American's bloodstream is through lead plumbing.