What do you do when the water’s not safe to drink, bathe in or even swim in?

Lee Anne Walters, a mother of four who lived on the south side of Flint, Michigan, turned to bottled water. That’s right – store-bought bottles and jugs of water used for everything from cooking to brushing teeth.

She took those extreme measures after her kids started getting sick.

After a bout of rashes found on her twin boys, Lee Anne went on a mission to find out what was behind the eruption of spots. Doctor’s visits weren’t helpful, and it wasn’t until Lee Anne noticed that the breakouts were occurring after bath time or swimming in the pool that she made the connection. Eventual water tests revealed extremely high lead levels.

This worried mother went into action and ended up changing everything about how the water crisis in Flint was handled.

DIG DEEPER

  • Read and watch: Michigan Radio’s “Not Safe to Drink” investigation
  • More: Flint water crisis coverage from Michigan Radio

Julia B. Chan worked at The Center for Investigative Reporting until June, 2017. Julia B. Chan is a producer and the digital editor for Reveal's national public radio program. She’s the voice of Reveal online and manages the production and curation of digital story assets that are sent to more than 200 stations across the country. Previously, Chan helped The Center for Investigative Reporting launch YouTube’s first investigative news channel, The I Files, and led engagement strategies – online and off – for multimedia projects. She oversaw communications, worked to better connect CIR’s work with a bigger audience and developed creative content and collaborations to garner conversation and impact.

Before joining CIR, Chan worked as a Web editor and reporter at the San Francisco Examiner. She managed the newspaper’s digital strategy and orchestrated its first foray into social media and online engagement. A rare San Francisco native, she studied broadcasting at San Francisco State University, focusing on audio production and recording. Chan is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.