The FOIA case Edwards vs. Wayne State University (WSU) continues to shed light on the disturbing story of Dr. McElmurry’s Flint Hydraulic Model, his qualifications, and rigor of FACHEP research.
We previously detailed how McElmurry’s false claims about possessing a complete Flint hydraulic model in early October 2015, snowballed from first obtaining Dr. Edwards’ assistance to win an NIH grant, to leadership of FACHEP, to numerous examples of McElmurry’s incompetence executing Flint work, to attacks on Dr. Edwards’ reputation, to the crybully FACHEP-instigated felony cases against Wells and Lyon.
On the basis of the evidence we had gathered back in March 2018, a LARA investigator concluded:
… McElmurry overstated his prior involvement in City of Flint’s drinking water system and contamination issues. These overstatements were intended to …substantiate large research awards/funds for Wayne State University and other contributors.
….under oath and in response to the LARA Complaint, McElmurry has been unable to substantiate prior City of Flint experience….these overstatements regarding City of Flint experience are deemed to be “misrepresentations”….
Gathering additional knowledge about McElmurry’s misrepresentations has been impeded by WSU repeatedly violating Michigan FOIA law to hide public documents. Mr. Patrick Wright and Derk Wilcox at Mackinac Center Legal Foundation have forced release of many documents without charge to Flintwaterstudy. We herein provide the latest on McElmurry’s Flint hydraulic model story.
WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT THE FLINT HYDRAULIC MODEL?
During a drinking water crisis and in its aftermath, predicting how water flows through a city’s potable water distribution system pipes, can help protect public health from lead, Legionella and other health risks. A “hydraulic model” is a computer program, usually based on EPANET software, that allows a user to obtain scientific insights useful for decision-making (e.g., see EPA presentation slides from January 2017).
Creating a complete hydraulic model for a city like Flint requires months to years of effort, detailed local knowledge, and true expertise in software and hydraulics. However, using a hydraulic model is something most undergraduate engineering students can learn in a day or two. EPA regularly hosts workshops teaching novices how to use EPANET hydraulic models.
When Dr. Edwards first started to collaborate with Mr. Howard Croft (Director of Public Works) at the City of Flint, their first email (September 10, 2015) discussed the poor and “in progress” status of Flint’s hydraulic model. Croft sent Edwards a LAN Engineering “water age” map dated January 21, 2015, and told him it was so inaccurate, it should not be shared publicly without a prominent disclaimer it was just a “conceptual map.” Croft told Edwards the water age was erroneous, because “dozens of valves were frozen shut,” and the map should not be used “for anything scientific.”
Thus, when Dr. McElmurry first introduced himself to Edwards and to NIH a few weeks later (October 7-10, 2015), with a written statement he had “a complete hydraulic model of Flint’s drinking water system” due to “5 years” of work in Flint (see Table below), he was asserting a claim of extraordinary intellectual property and expertise. Mountains were moved by Edwards, the State of Michigan and others, based on McElmurry’s completely false claim, to give McElmurry funding and power that could be used to benefit residents of Flint and assist the disaster response. This put the WSU/McElmurry funding and power grab snowball into motion. Below is an updated timeline of McElmurry’s ever changing claims about Flint hydraulic models.
Updated Timeline of McElmurry’s Conflicting Statements on the Flint Hydraulic Model (Newest information in red)
|10/7/2015||Email from McElmurry to Edwards: “I have done a fair amount of work on Pb exposure and have worked in Flint in the past. As a result of this past work, I have a working hydraulic model of the Flint drinking water system.”|
|10/8/2015||Email from McElmurry to Faust: “Kasey, I took a look at the epanet <hydraulic> model of Flint you used for your dissertation. It doesn’t look like it was complete, at least the one you sent me. Do you have a complete model of the system?”|
|10/8/2015||Email from Faust to McElmurry: “Yes I do- I’ll have to find it on my hard drive when I get home…….Is GIs okay with you?” <FAUST FORWARDS MCELMURRY COMPLETE HYDRAULIC MODEL>|
|≈ 10/10/2015||McElmurry written statement to NIH, forwarded to Edwards by email on 10/12/2015. Bold emphasis was in original. “Over the last 5 years the PI (McElmurry) has conducted research focused on how to best adapt Flint’s existing water infrastructure to changes in population and industrial demand. As a result of this work, the team already possesses a complete hydraulic model of Flint’s drinking water system. We will utilize this model….”|
|11/2/2015||From McElmurry’s NIH Proposal: “Through previous work by the PI in Flint, the project team has unique access to the Flint water distribution system details..and has initiated the <hydraulic> modeling effort.”|
|4/22/2016||McElmurry email to City of Flint: “…it doesn’t make sense for us to continue to develop our EPANET <hydraulic Flint> model….” because EPA is creating one|
|2/13/2017||McElmurry to co-author on what became the peer reviewed PNAS paper: “Without the <Flint hydraulic> water model..I am left with..the <January 21 2015> water age map developed by LAN… (of course..<our work> could be improved greatly with a full hydraulic model)…”|
|8/5/2017||Masten emails McElmurry about what became the PNAS Paper: “EPA has the hydraulic model running-if you could get that…you would have a far better estimate…” of water age. McElmurry would not wait to get the EPA hydraulic model.|
|10/6/2017||Sworn Testimony of Dr. Larry Reynolds in Lyon, on why he recommended McElmurry to lead FACHEP: “ I recommended Doctor Shawn McElmurry, an environmental engineer at Wayne State because he had done hydraulic modeling for the city of Flint I think within the past year <2015>..”|
|2/2018||PNAS Peer Reviewed Paper Description Falsely Implies It Used the Best Available EPA hydraulic model: ..“we develop a monitor-to-parcel assignment algorithm that leverages best available information on parcel occupancy/vacancy, residence time of water (i.e. water age), and the Flint water distribution system pipe network”|
|3/13/2018||McElmurry Presentation at Michigan State University (MSU) Seminar: Provided first indication, that McElmurry has finally obtained the EPA hydraulic model.|
|4/30/2018||McElmurry’s written response to LARA Investigator about his false claims back in October 2015: “..it was very confusing what information was available. I had initially thought the City of Flint provided Dr. Abraham, Kasey Faust and me with a fully functioning model of the Flint water distribution system. ..This understanding turned out to be incorrect.”|
|8/16/2018||Wayne State University written claim to Edwards: “McElmurry had no hydraulic …model” in 2015|
|4/10/2019||McElmurry sworn statements about slides WSU is withholding, from an October 2017 presentation. I “was provided the initial <hydraulic> model pursuant to a memorandum of understanding with the City of Flint. After receiving the model, I modified conditions (input), selected parameters that were reported by the model (output), and presented same at the Symposium.”|
To our shock, WSU finally admitted in writing August 8, 2018, that McElmurry never had a Flint “hydraulic model” in 2015. That left two complete hydraulic models of the Flint water distribution system that we are aware of: Dr. Faust’s model which McElmurry obtained October 8, 2015, and the EPA Flint Hydraulic Model created during the Federal Emergency presented at the January 10, 2017 EPA data summit (results are available online). So we started to wonder about what hydraulic model FACHEP used in their Flint research.
Summary of Flint Water Age Data Sources
|Model name||Date Available||How McElmurry obtained model and its uses|
|1. LAN Water Age “Conceptual Model”||January 21, 2015||Obtained indirectly from Edwards, who it was given to with a caveat it should not be used “for anything scientific.” FACHEP relied on it for drafts of February 2018 FACHEP PNAS paper, and probably the final version of the paper.|
|2. Faust Complete Hydraulic Model||October 8, 2015||Sent by email October 8, 2015 from Dr. Faust to McElmurry. Used by McElmurry to get Edwards support, win NIH grant, obtain leadership of FACHEP.|
|3. EPA Complete Hydraulic Model||January 2017||EPA spent months developing this complete hydraulic model during the Federal emergency. Best estimate is McElmurry obtained this model after PNAS paper was published in early 2018.|
WHAT “HYDRAULIC MODEL” WAS USED IN FACHEP’S PNAS PAPER
In February 2018, FACHEP published a peer reviewed scientific paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) examining the Flint Legionella Outbreak. The PNAS paper implies that it used the “best available” hydraulic model, but cloaks which model in mystery as follows (emphasis added):
To test the loss of chlorine hypothesis, we develop a monitor-to-parcel assignment algorithm that leverages best available information on parcel occupancy/vacancy, residence time of water (i.e. water age), and the Flint water distribution system pipe network (see Fig. S2).
Did FACHEP use the Faust or the EPA hydraulic model? Incredibly, after spending millions and millions of dollars of NIH and FACHEP funding, we were sickened to discover that it appears the answer is: neither one.
Through FOIA we discovered that the erroneous January 21, 2015 LAN “conceptual model” graph, was given from Croft to Edwards to Mona Hanna-Attisha to Rick Sadler (FACHEP) to Dr. McElmurry. FACHEP then used that erroneous 2015 LAN water age “conceptual model,” for what turned into their PNAS paper.
Internal email discussions of McElmurry and first author on the PNAS paper, Dr. Zahran, openly acknowledge the serious problems with using that erroneous 2015 data obtained from Dr. Edwards. McElmurry suggests that using this data is “a reasonable approach given the limited data we have available (2/13/2017),” and Zahran admits this is really “the best possible work around in the absence of data required to develop a defensible water model (6/22/2017).” In other words, McElmurry/Zahran know, they are proceeding with a scientific analysis on the PNAS paper without a “defensible hydraulic model.” This is indefensible.
The originators of the January 2015 water “conceptual map” went even further. In reference to an updated August 2015 version of the Flint hydraulic model, LAN engineering stated (page 16)
“LAN…developed preliminary water age results throughout the entire system. ..However, LAN has also identified several issues affecting the model that require further attention to allow for usable and reliable results. Revised results will be provided when the hydraulic model has been fully updated….in Sept-Oct, 2015.”
This further reinforces the fact that the January 2015 Flint water age map was known to be inaccurate in mid- 2015.
Dr. Masten (MSU), who was a co-author on the PNAS paper, was completely unaware that Dr. Edwards was the source of the January 21, 2015 datafile, or that the city said it should never be used for any scientific analysis. But Dr. Masten determined on her own, that the manuscript was “seriously flawed” due to obvious errors in how it handled “water age.”
On August 5, 2017, Zahran admitted to Masten, that “We were aware of this weakness – that is, reliance on weak water age information….” After Dr. Masten’s stated that they should obtain and use the EPA hydraulic model (available January 2017) to make a “far better estimate of water age,” the authors refused. Therefore, the written claim in the PNAS paper that FACHEP was using the “best available information” for their analysis, appears to be false. The information they were using, was not acceptable for a scientific analysis back in 2015, and it certainly should not have been used for a PNAS scientific paper published February 2018.
We even found an email from October 28, 2015 from Croft to McElmurry, after Edwards had invited McElmurry into the inner circle of Flint researchers, where it was explicitly documented in writing that the city needed “to verify broken valve locations for <the water age hydraulic> model from LAN to be accurate,” and again noting Flint’s hydraulic model was still “in progress.” Dr. McElmurry, was therefore fully aware that the January 2015 LAN conceptual map was unscientific, even as he was telling Edwards and others that he had created a complete Flint hydraulic model. Yet, in 2017, he knowingly used this erroneous data, obtained from Dr. Edwards, as a basis for the PNAS paper.
On December 8, 2017, Dr. Masten explicitly asked whether the water age data from the erroneous January 21, 2015 “conceptual map,” was used as a scientific basis for the PNAS paper analysis. The authors refused to directly answer her question and also would not use the EPA hydraulic model. Dr. Masten courageously withdrew her name from the PNAS paper as a co-author.
HYDRAULIC MODEL SLIDES ARE MCELMURRY’s INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
When the 2018 PNAS paper was published, WSU celebrated their FACHEP crybully hero narrative with an unusual press release:
“This abandonment of basic human and civil rights by those who once had the public trust led to water quality, safety and access issues that endangered the public health. In the midst of this maelstrom, a group of engineers along with medical, public health and social scientists assembled a research team <FACHEP> to pursue answers to problems that others would rather leave unexamined. The authors of these papers….affirmed the higher purpose of science — to expand knowledge and serve the common good.”
Ever since, WSU has made extraordinary efforts, to block better public understanding about this PNAS paper, and the nature of McElmurry’s repeated misrepresentations about the hydraulic model through FOIA. Here is an update on recent revelatory obfuscation.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY? We previously reported and later updated, the absurd legal gymnastics that WSU is using, to withhold 4 powerpoint slides that Dr. McElmurry presented publicly at a Michigan State University symposium in October 2017. WSU initially claimed that these 4 slides had to be withheld to protect McElmurry’s “intellectual property.” We filed to force release of the 4 slides and WSU/McElmurry has now responded.
WSU admits that 2 of the slides they are fighting to keep hidden, are of McElmurry’s hydraulic model results. In a sworn affidavit April 10, 2019, McElmurry writes (see page 28 of 73, point 15; emphasis added):
15. Slides 22 and 23 contain results of my manipulations of a <Flint hydraulic> model simulation showing the flow of water within the City of Flint and the pipe network that constitutes the municipal drinking water system within the City. I was provided the initial model pursuant to a memorandum of understanding with the City of Flint. After receiving the model, I modified conditions (input), selected parameters that were reported by the model (output), and presented same at the Symposium.
WSU is now claiming that using a Flint hydraulic model that someone else created, constitutes McElmurry’s “intellectual property.” This is consistent with McElmurry’s past practice, of changing a border on a slide taken from Flintwaterstudy and presenting it as his own work. And we wonder, which hydraulic model was being used in the withheld slides, since as far as we know, only Dr. Faust’s model was available to him at that time? Did he give appropriate credit to whoever created the model, or was he once again, “confused,” implying it was his model?
PROTECTING THE SECURITY AND SAFETY OF THE RESIDENTS OF FLINT? In response to Dr. Edwards’ offer to sign a non-disclosure agreement for permission to see the slides McElmurry already presented publicly, assuaging McElmurry’s intellectual property claim, WSU created a new argument. WSU stated that releasing the slides could endanger Flint residents to a terrorist attack (page 23 of 73):
…exemption exists in order to protect…capabilities and plans for responding to a violation of the Michigan anti-terrorism act…Once released, even on a limited basis,..the City of Flint’s ability to protect the safety and security of its residents is compromised. …slides 22 and 23 are subject to protection for this additional reason.
Interestingly, EPA posts slides of its Flint hydraulic model simulations on the internet and freely shares Flint hydraulic model presentations with anyone requesting them. We can only imagine, what on earth, could McElmurry have entered into the hydraulic model, developed by someone else, that created “top secret” intellectual property that could wreak havoc in the hands of terrorists plotting to attack Flint? And if it was “top secret,” why did McElmurry present it publicly, at a graduate research symposium? By their own definition, they’ve clearly committed a major security breach.
Dr. ROY HYDRAULIC MODEL FOIA SAGA. For more than a year, we have been trying to get emails about possible conflicting statements McElmurry made to his WSU colleagues, related to Faust’s hydraulic model (see details here). The latest excuse to Dr. Roy? The cost to produce a few weeks of emails from October 2015 and two other documents, would be $6,710.65.
DR. McELMURRY’s TRUE HYDRAULIC MODELING EXPERTISE REVEALED
Potentially adding insult to injury, for those harmed directly and indirectly by McElmurry’s misrepresentations, a witness recently disclosed to us that Dr. McElmurry attended a September 2018 EPA workshop, intended to train novices who want to learn how to use an EPANET hydraulic model. The witness also claimed to have an email, listing the EPANET trainees, that includes Dr. McElmurry. We have submitted a FOIA to obtain this document.
If this story from our reliable source proves to be true, it would a fitting ending to this tragi-comedic real life story of McElmurry’s hydraulic model. The same person who falsely claimed to have created extraordinary intellectual property in the form of a “complete Flint hydraulic model” back in October 2015, but who then likely used flawed “water age” data from a January 2015 “conceptual model” via Dr. Edwards for a PNAS peer reviewed paper, finally attends an EPA workshop in September 2018 geared towards helping novices learn the basics of how to use a hydraulic model.
All documents cited above:
Primary Author: Dr. Marc A. Edwards
12 thoughts on “The Tragi-Comedy of McElmurry’s Flint Hydraulic Model”
Marc: PNAS Reviewers seem to have dropped the ball in letting McElmurry’s paper be published without sufficient detail on the hydraulic model methodology. That coupled with McElmurry’s apparent secretive stance on those details effectively ensures that no other researchers can or will ever reproduce his analysis.
McElmurry’s tentative-sounding e-mail dated 2/13/17 where he broadly outlines a methodology ( and optimistically asks “does this sound like a reasonable approach given the limited data we have available? “) seems like the most detail he provided to his team, perhaps outside of the mystery slides that he is vigorously guarding. Since Masten seems to have the most expertise in the hydraulic modeling area, yet had the greatest reservations regarding his methodology, this indicates great haste to publish at any cost. It was certainly courageous for Susan to ask her name be removed when other authors such as Zahran seemed to brush off her concerns.
Based on McElmurry’s assertion that slides 22-23 contain his “modified conditions (input), selected parameters that were reported by the model (output), and presented same at the Symposium.” and the revelation that he seems to have registered for Novice level training on hydraulic model methodologies it seems highly likely that slides 22-23 contain some evidence of major flaws of methodology. In fact, the flaws must likely be sufficiently significant that he (I.e. WSU) is willing to invoke alleged terrorist prevention (thats truly humorous) rationales to avoid having the scientific or lay public see those.
This is a curious egg that you’ve cracked open here and it’s quite interesting to see what’s inside. The final mystery is what McElmurry is fighting so valiantly to keep private about his methodology and WHY.
Opening the curious egg will likely prove anti-climatic.
When they first started to withhold the 4 slides back in March 2018, they were still trying to maintain an illusion, that McElmurry had a 2015 Flint hydraulic model. When I first read the PNAS paper in February 2018, in my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined the entire analysis was done without a defensible hydraulic model.
WSU has since admitted in writing, that the 2015 McElmurry complete Flint hydraulic model, never existed.
And when they first withheld the slides, WSU also did not want it known, McElmurry had a habit of taking intellectual property from others, and implying it was his own. But that has now been proven from other lines of evidence.
They frequently say it is the cover up that gets you. Can you imagine the legal and financial resources that WSU has spent, fighting to keep those 4 slides secret? Their 73 page ode to obfuscation, discussed in this blog, is a truly desperate effort, to keep the “Wayne Cares for Flint” brand myth alive.
When we finally do crack that curiosity open, what will prove most memorable, is the rotten egg odor, and how much worse it became by an additional 13+ months of souring.
Thx for the Easter chuckle! And also thanks for sharing this CNN digital-documentary on small town water systems: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1SrzQWvSEuw
In the same way Dr. Faust’s thesis informs us about the risks in larger post-industrial urban systems, this was a real eye-opener on the risks faced by smaller communities.
Make one wonder which countries have figured out how to solve these problems (perhaps select European?). It’s great work deserving of support. Enjoy your Easter weekend!
Pertaining to Point IV. Disclosure of Slides 22 and 23… (pages 19-20 of the Wayne State Response:
Interesting, Dr. McElmurry now claims that he does not have to disclose the content of slides 22 and 23 because to do so “would jeopardize the security and safety of the residents of Flint”. He apparently did not believe this to be the case when he presented the slides to a room full of symposium attendees. Remember, the symposium was in a public building and there was no control on admission to the room. While Dr. McElmurry has stated that he asked that photos not be taken during his presentation, as far as I know there was no security personnel in the room to ensure that this request was honored. In fact, I know that later in the day, Dr. McElmurry took a photograph of one of the speakers and his slide and then sent that to a colleague. Therefore, if the material in these slides were sensitive, Dr. McElmurry would have jeopardized the security and safety of Flint residents by presenting this information in an open forum.
WSU claims that the contents of slides 22 and 23 “fall clearly within” the exception mentioned above and, therefore, these slides cannot be released. WSU further states that to do so would violate chapter LXXXIII-A of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.543a to 750.543z. I have not seen the slides, but if WSU’s claim is true it is likely that presenting the slides in a public forum would also violate the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-188, Title IV— Drinking Water Security and Safety).
If Dr. McElmurry’s claim is true, I believe that access to the material presented would be restricted under Export Control regulations. Since there was no security that restricted access to the room in which the symposium was held to those individuals with Export Control training, and it is inconceivable that all personnel that were present had been trained in proper Access Control procedures and that an Access Control Plan was in place, either WSU’s argument that the material in these slides is sensitive is spurious or the release of this material at Dr. McElmurry’s presentation could have violated Federal and State law.
I sincerely doubt that national security, or Flint resident security, was ever at risk.
Call me skeptical, I doubt he told the audience not to take pictures, and I doubt he set a timer on each slide to make sure they were not on the screen long enough for knowledge to be retained.
I am reminded of a three year old, with a bad habit of trying to lie their way out of mistakes, whose parents encouraging it as an exercise in creativity and high self-esteem.
Modern academia is not just failing, but is actually nurturing and promoting narcissistic “fake it until you make” it personality-types. Even in engineering.
And let us not forget, there is our epidemic of academic moral cowardice, that guarantees this will become a new norm.
We will continue on with our little experiment in academic moral courage and truth telling, because of the potential miscarriage of justice, and see where it leads us. Again quoting President Truman:
I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.
We also acknowledge receiving a very high endorsement last week. Dr. Sullivan (FACHEP) tweeted that we are the problem, and to make it all go away, “Simply stop reading his blog.” Dr. McElmurry liked her logic and tweet, so we present it herein, as the official FACHEP response to the facts presented in our blog series.
Stop reading? And miss possibly the BEST expose of bare-knuckled “research” tactics deployed by “researchers” (FACHEP) of apparent dubious moral character in recent history?! The relevant question is: Does Sedgewick still Win if He is Exposed?
Dr. Sullivan clearly feels he does not: https://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/the-emperors-club/who-we-really-are
There is more good “Stop Reading It” stuff ahead.
But I am also reminded that when Michael Lewis wrote Liar’s Poker, it backfired.
From the introduction to The Big Short (page XV):
“I hoped that some bright kid at Ohio State University who really wanted to be an oceanographer would read my book [Liar’s Poker], spurn the offer from Goldman Sachs, and set out to sea. Some how that message was mainly lost. Six months after Liar’s Poker was published, I was knee-deep in letters from students at Ohio State University who wanted to know if I had any other secrets to share about Wall Street. They’d read my book as a how-to manual.”
This might turn out to be a “How-to” manual for our brave new academic era. “Catch us if you can.” “Catch us if you dare.”
Marc: Since the Lyon & Wells trial FOIA’s first revealed McElmurry’s taking of Faust’s hydraulic model and the NIH coverletter he and Miller wrote I have wondered why Sedgewick didn’t simply issue a mea culpa (apology) to Faust and e-mail clarification to NIH that the model they referred to actually belonged to Purdue University and Dr. Faust??
Had I been in such a situation, as an “accidental” cheater, pretty sure I would have done so. Assuming that you had uncovered a one-time (random) type of cheating event as opposed to the systematic “inveterate liar” (as Mark Twain says), that would be the logical thing for Sedgewick to do.
In the same way that one analyzes random versus systematic errors one can analyze Sedwick’s (and his FACHEP team) ethical actions. You’ve done that in each circumstance. In each situation there should have been an honorable way out for them, I.e. communication or method whereby they could have ameliorated rather than exacerbating damage. For example, in the Webber home they could have simply appoligized for delays or miscommunications (along with apparent fear-mongering or unprofessional statements) rather then seeming to rush to the Public Library information event and fostering further confusion.
The question is Why wouldn’t they and Sedgewick’s accomplice institution simply try to do better quality work and fix some of these problems when they could rather than taking the path of obfuscation and misrepresentation??
The answer (removing individual investigator’s psychological factors) must be either the perverse Incentives of $$$ (>$12M you indicated), as well as publications such as the PNAS paper, and the Institution’s Branding factor that you mention and/or the necessity of doing a “cya” to cover up team incompetence.
At any rate, you have shown that such situations can be dangerous and stressful for the communities caught up in them. You may also be interested in the possible widening of that “Wayne Cares” brand to a community just south of Ann Arbor, trying to replicate the model that your VT team does so well: https://www.lenconnect.com/news/20190425/wayne-state-to-study-adrian-water
I was not aware of them going to Adrian. I hope they have learned and can do better than Flint.
In relation to the lack of apology to Dr. Faust (or Dr. Masten), I think we will soon see, they are simply not sorry. For all the reasons you mentioned. It is truly scary how far one can get, and for how long one can get away with it, which documented unethical behavior.
There is no reason why such disputes could not be resolved privately in a week or less, if all parties and institutions were accountable. But so far we get tap dancing, smoke and mirrors, and the stakes grow higher with every passing day. Maybe justice will be served in the courtroom upon cross examination, maybe it will not be served in this lifetime.
It is an interesting story nonetheless.
From FB group Adrian’s Water Keepers
I am contacting you to see if you are interested in volunteering your home to be a part of the Wayne State University water study. This study is a graduate student research project being conducted through Wayne State University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. City of Adrian water distribution system residential customers are invited to apply for selection. Each home (between 50 – 60) will be sampled at least two and possibly three times. Waivers will be distributed each to participant that grants permission to Wayne State to test their home as well as rights to ALL test results. If your home was tested earlier, you may still participate.
The study to be conducted by Wayne State University will be focusing on cyanobacteria, the cyanotoxins it can produce, and the possibility that cyanobacteria colonized the water distribution where it could release toxins. It is an academic research study. This is NOT a public health or epidemiology study and does not have anything to do with possible health issues. See your medical health professional, notify the City and the Lenawee County Health Department if you are experiencing problems. This study is based on decades of taste and odor problems, attributed by the City to the taste and odor compounds geosmin and 2-MIB. When found in water, these compounds are nearly always produced by cyanobacteria that can also produce colorless, odorless, almost invisible, dangerous toxins. This research is an expansion of what was done in Adrian in December of 2018. For further information about cyanobacteria, biofilms and colonization please visit “Adrian’s Water Keeper” Facebook page under the announcements.
Researchers will choose the participants in order to randomize the study. If you are chosen, you will be notified by May 7. Those chosen will be invited to an obligatory information meeting on May 21, where the WSU researchers will explain the project, answer questions, and collect the signed waivers.
We are also looking for about 20 people to help collect the samples. You will need to provide your own transportation, to be available during most of the day on the testing dates, and undergo training during the information meeting above.
To summarize, in order to have your home’s water tested, you MUST:
1. Be a City of Adrian water distribution system residential customer, with an unfiltered drinking water tap.
2. Attend the May 21 meeting.
3. Sign the waiver, including obtaining signature of the property owner if you rent.
4. Be present during sample collection. Resident/property owner over the age of 21 (or someone with written approval from resident) during the time(s) Wayne State designates for sampling.
If you are unable to meet these requirements or are not interested please state that you cannot or will not, so we can pass this opportunity on to the next resident on the list.
If you are able and willing please RSVP at the link below by April 30, 2019.
We hope you will consider being a part of this opportunity and study!
Btw Marc, if you include the Investigator’s personality aspects (eg. Crybullying, schooling the CDC, breathless all-nighters in failed attempts to “bushwhack” sponsors) then this series reads like a
“Researchers Gone Wild” 2-year long Spring Break narrative. A GREAT summer read! 🙂
I will try to wrap it up in a month so people can take it to the beach. They can then watch the criminal cases if they go forward.
Actually, this Wayne State study looks well organized, at least superficially. I like the fact that they are point blank stating it is not a public health study.
We want to encourage good science. There can be great science going on right next door to horrible science at any institution: Virginia Tech, Wayne State, anywhere. Sounds like the people at Adrian have water problems and we hope this group can help.
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