Michigan governor to end Flint’s water bottle program despite skepticism from residents
Michigan Governor Rick Synder just told the media the State of Michigan will stop giving free bottled water to the city of Flint on Friday, according to reports from The New York Times.
The decision was criticized by city officials, mostly because Flint is still dealing with a water crisis that came to light in 2014 which placed citizens in danger due to high levels of lead in the tap water. However, Michigan officials said that lead levels have not exceeded federal limits for around two years, so the state felt comfortable closing the four distributions centers in Flint where people have been picking up cases of water since January of 2016.
“We have worked diligently to restore the water quality and the scientific data now proves the water system is stable and the need for bottled water has ended,” The Republican governor stated Friday.
However, there appears to be a communication breakdown between the state and local levels of government as the mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver said she was informed of the state’s decision only moments before it was made available to the public.
Weaver also released a statement: “We did not cause the man-made water disaster, therefore adequate resources should continue being provided until the problem is fixed and all the lead and galvanized pipes have been replaced.”
Residents are also cautious of the choice by Synder and state leadership. Joyce Wilson, a 62 year old resident who has been visiting the water distribution centers for two years as well as bringing cases to older and sick relatives, friends and neighbors, says that she did not trust the water that comes to her tap to drink, bathe, or even to water her garden.
Even though state officials say that Flint’s water supply meets federal standards, the reality is that water can still pick up lead as it flows through the thousands of lead or galvanized steel pipelines in the city. Flint is working with contractors to replace all of the affected lines by the year 2020. Just over 6,200 have been replaced so far and an estimated 12,000 pipes could still remain, tainting the water supply.
Many residents are not pleased with either the state or local response to the water crisis. ” I just have no trust in anything they say, because they make these claims and then shortly thereafter, it turns out that they weren’t telling the truth,” Wilson said.