Flint, Michigan, Water Crisis Update: Government Spends Thousands Per Day for Bottled Water

The state of Michigan is still spending more than $22,000 per day on bottled water for Flint years after the lead water crisis began in the Midwestern city.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) records show that the state from October through February has spent more than $22,000 a day on bottled water for Flint residents, according to Michigan Live. The state doesn’t distribute the water itself, but pays for the water distributed by the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

Flint’s water debacle began in 2014 when the city decided to tap the Flint River for its water supply instead of getting water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in order to save money. The water wasn’t properly treated, and residents began complaining that the water smelled strange and was off-color.

The improperly treated water leached lead from Flint’s pipes, possibly exposing the just under 100,000 population of the city to the poisonous metal. United Way, a charity organization that is helping distribute the bottle water estimated that somewhere between 6,000 and 12,000 children were exposed to lead in their water.

Flint eventually switched back to its old water source and has spent millions of dollars fixing and upgrading the city’s infrastructure. At the beginning of last year, Flint’s water was declared below federal lead limits by the MDEQ.

Flint is not completely out of the woods yet, however. Testing at some of the city’s schools has shown that there are still some lingering effects from the crisis. Last month, the MDEQ said that close to 9 percent of the tests from one of the city’s high schools showed lead results above the federal limit. The city’s schools have been providing bottled water for its students and not using tap water since 2015, according to the Associated Press. The city’s mayor, Karen Weaver, said that the results will be investigated.

“I am convinced that these test results prove additional work and investigation is needed to determine the source (or sources) of the lead, and what actions must be taken to address and resolve the problem, once and for all,” said Weaver in a statement.

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