Change of Status

Aug. 18, 2016

All eyes are on water quality issues at the Rio Olympics, where pools are turning green and athletes have been told to keep their mouths closed while competing. But back in the U.S., a change of status has occurred in Flint, Mich., as the federal state of emergency for the city expired Sunday.

The declaration made by President Barack Obama in January came with benefits. The federal government footed 75% of the bill for bottled water, cartridges and filters, but with the expiration of the emergency declaration Aug. 14, Michigan now finds itself paying for those expenses, estimated at $3.5 million per month.

Authorities have assured the public that emergency water supplies will continue to be available as the city works to get back on track with water quality. The water has seen improvements, too, as almost half of the homes tested in July had no detectable levels of lead.

But the residents in Flint are still cautious about drinking from the tap—with good reason. They put trust in their water and it was shattered. Experts have indicated tap water in Flint is now safe to drink with a filter, but the trust in those sources is still shaky. Residents are more interested in drinking bottled water than picking up free filters and cartridges to drink from the tap. 

What do you think can be done to encourage residents use filters instead of bottled water? How long will it take to rebuild trust in Flint’s water? Let us know at [email protected]