While children in Flint were drinking foul-smelling brown water tainted with lead and the state was denying there was a problem, state workers in the Michigan city had their own water supply, according to documents obtained by the Progress Michigan group. A notice from the state Department of Technology, Management, and Budget dated Jan. 7, 2015, says that because of concerns about tap water, the agency is in the process "of providing a water cooler on each occupied floor, positioned near the water fountain," reports the Detroit Free Press. The memo was issued six months before members of Gov. Rick Snyder's administration acknowledged concerns about Flint's water, the Atlantic reports.
"It appears the state wasn't as slow as we first thought in responding" to the crisis, but the "only response was to protect the Snyder administration from future liability and not to protect the children of Flint from lead poisoning," says Progress Michigan director Lonnie Scott. "While residents were being told to relax and not worry about the water, the Snyder administration was taking steps to limit exposure in its own building." A DTMB spokesman tells the Free Press that the purified water was first provided in response to an issue the city thought had been fixed, though the agency kept supplying coolers as more problems emerged and is still bringing them in. (Michael Moore says Flint has suffered a "crime against humanity.")