NOVA’s Flint Water Crisis Special Explores Impact of ‘Environmental Criminals’

TCA 2017: “At it’s core, this is a story of science and ethics,” expert says during “Troubled Waters” panel

A new NOVA special about the Flint water crisis, “Troubled Waters,” deals with impact that “environmental criminals” had in worsening the crisis, a panelist at the Television Critics Association press tour said on Monday.

“At it’s core, this is a story of science and ethics,” civil engineering professor Marc Edwards said. “It’s about how the environmental policemen that we pay to protect us — civil servants, scientists and engineers — turned into environmental criminals.”

He continued: “If you look at the emails we obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request, the officials did the right thing and reached out to the appropriate people at the EPA… and unfortunately they were lied to.”

The residents of Flint have been exposed to contaminated water since April 2014, when the city abandoned the source of its water from Lake Huron in favor of the nearby Flint River.

The new water source had not been treated with anti-corrosion chemicals and was therefore contaminated with lead and bacteria, affecting tens of thousands in the mostly impoverished and African-American communities.

Veo Luster, a Flint resident and contractor, said he learned through participating in the special just how fragile the water treatment process is.

“You turn on the tap and you assume you get water that everybody took care of it and they did their jobs safe and you shouldn’t have a problem,” Luster said. “But as Dr. Edwards and [Dr. Siddhartha Roy] have reasearched and found out, that chain is very, very fragile. It only takes one individual to go to the bathroom or forget to do something and the rest is history.”

NOVA’s “Troubled Waters” will premiere on May 31 at 9 p.m./8c.