Learning from the Flint Water Crisis

Grant Amount: $172,123
Recipient: University of Michigan

In 2015, Flint, Michigan faced one of the nation’s greatest public health disasters when it was discovered that the water in Flint had extremely high levels of lead. The result of a cost-saving decision to switch from a Detroit water source to a local Flint River water source by the city’s appointed emergency manager, the lead exposure will have long-lasting ramifications for the health, economy, and development of Flint communities.

The University of Michigan School of Public Health is studying the legislation that empowers emergency managers to make these kinds of decisions, as well as the implications for how that authority is used for other jurisdictions with similar systems in place. This will help to inform local and state public health leaders and legislators who are looking for strategies to ensure that public health in considered in decisions made by emergency managers. The research will identify best practices and produce practical tools that can be used to guide communities with emergency managers in the future.