The story has gripped the headlines for weeks.  Local, regional, national and even international.  Everyone seems to be talking about the Flint Water Crisis.  Watch groups want to know how it happened while citizens just want to know when they can safely drink the water again.

At MCA we too have been talking about Flint. Not because we worked on this project, but we work on dozens of other projects that involve our professional engineers stepping up and doing their job to keep the public safe.  A story like this reminds us all that our professionals have an obligation to follow the code of ethics called The Obligation of an Engineer.

An engineer’s design involves many aspects for which they are responsible.  Often times an engineer must take into account his/her employer’s direction, supervisor’s direction, the client’s budgetary constraints, construction schedules, and other factors outside of the engineer’s control.  However, at a minimum, the engineer must remember the public’s health and safety is of upmost importance.  No decision can be made that would negatively impact or cause undue harm to the public.

The engineer, whether in a municipal role, a private consultant, or outside testing agency, due to their professional obligations, may be the first line of defense and must be sure to uphold the oath of The Obligation of an Engineer.

It may take years before anyone truly understands all the missteps of the Flint water crisis, but we as professionals can all learn and remain committed to making sure it never happens again—in Flint or anywhere else.


Jarion Bradley
Project Engineer
Metro Consulting Associates