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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced the decision to end free bottled water distribution in Flint amid considerable backlash
On April 6, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that the state will stop providing free bottled water to the city of Flint, Mich. The state began closing down the nine bottled water distribution sites during the past summer, with the remaining four scheduled to end distribution once current supplies are depleted in an estimated four to seven days, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Recent MDEQ lead testing has revealed lead levels below the federal level of 15 ppb for nearly two years, with levels as low as 4 ppb recorded during the first three months of 2018. However, the state will continue to provide drinking water filters to residents.
“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,” Snyder said in a statement.
According to The New York Times, residents flocked to the remaining water distribution sites following the announcement in an effort to stock up on state-provided bottled water. Many residents remain distrustful of the tap water following the Flint water crisis.
“I don’t trust the water. Period,” Debra Coleman, a Flint resident, told CNN. “It could be five years from now and I’ll still never drink this water.” Coleman’s sentiment echoed the government distrust of many of her neighbors.
Officials such as Mich. Sen. Jim Ananich and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver strongly disagreed with Snyder’s announcement.
“It’s beyond belief that the governor expects the folks in Flint to trust the government now, when they lied to our faces about lead in our water just a few years ago,” Ananich said, as reported by The Washington Post.
Flint Mayor Weaver argued that the residents should have state-funded bottled water service provided until all of the lead service lines are replaced, a massive project that has an estimated end date of 2020, with approximately 6,200 out of 12,000 replaced currently.