Emergency Management

Document Type


Publication Date



A federal emergency was declared in Flint, Michigan on January 16, 2016 because of elevated lead levels in the city drinking water system. Resulting from a number of technical mistakes and a lack of oversight by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, this crisis may have implications for the professional practice of emergency management. This paper explores the relationship between critical infrastructure and disaster theory, reviews the Flint crisis as a representative case study, and presents recommendations for emergency managers to begin to assess the drinking water systems within their own communities. As this is a still-evolving event, the discussion is based on the extent of the information available to both researchers and the public primarily as of late Fall, 2016. Future researchers will need to evaluate records from upcoming court proceedings and file additional FOIA requests after all subpoenas have been lifted in order to analyze how both a large public water system and a state government could allow the omission of corrosion control

Publication/Presentation Information

Journal of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, 2017, 14(3), 1–9.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.