Veolia's hopes of taking advantage of municipal privatizations and promised Trump administration public works projects to expand its U.S. presence, are being strained by its role in water crises in Flint, Michigan and other cities. The French water and waste management giant has targeted five percent revenue growth in North America in 2017, with the United States expected to lead the way. But Veolia's operations have not been without controversy, especially in Flint, where a lead contaminated water system became a notorious symbol of American social injustice. The contamination harmed thousands of children and was seen as the cause of 12 fatalities due to Legionnaires disease. Veolia continues to face numerous investigations and class-action lawsuits connected to the crisis.
Veolia also has run into controversy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which also suffered from elevated levels of lead in its water system.