An Environmental Protection Agency administrator resigned from her post amid the severe water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
In a statement, EPA said that Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman offered her resignation effective February 1. The move came after large amounts of lead were found in the water. The acceptance of Hedman’s resignation came “given Susan’s strong interest in ensuring that EPA Region 5’s focus remains solely on the restoration of Flint’s drinking water.”
With a population of nearly 100,000, the residents of the city have been urged not to consume tap water. Meanwhile, the National Guard has been handing out bottled water to the residents. The agency further said in its statement, “EPA has determined the State of Michigan and the City of Flint’s responses to the drinking water crisis in Flint have been inadequate to protect public health,” further emphasizing on the importance of “restoring public confidence that the ongoing drinking water crisis in Flint will be promptly and fully remedied.”
Heavy amounts of lead were found in the Flint water supply after the city changed its water source from the Detroit water line to the Flint River in 2014 in order to save money, as reported by ABC News.
The agency urged the state and city to take “a series of immediate steps to address the drinking water contamination in Flint.”
The problem with the water supply was first discovered in August by a Virginia Tech professor whose tests deduced that there were high amounts of lead in the water. In September, a pediatrician compared blood tests which revealed lead poisoning in children. NBC News reports that an early batch of tests showed more than 40 children who had high levels of lead. The element can cause problems pertaining to mental and physical development in children.
In January, a state of emergency was declared by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who said that he will rectify the problem caused by the water crisis. President Barack Obama also signed an emergency declaration that ordered federal assistance into the matter.