News Feature | November 14, 2017

As Mayor Of Flint Overcomes Recall, Water Quality Front And Center

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online

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Karen Weaver, the mayor of Flint, MI, who rose to national prominence during her fight against lead contamination in the city’s drinking water, faced a recall election last week and water quality continued to be a primary focus.

“Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency shortly after her election in 2015, demanding federal help to solve the water crisis,” reported Grist. “Between 2014 and 2015, contaminated water from the Flint River led to widespread lead poisoning… The NAACP and others declared environmental racism by city officials seeded the public health emergency — in a city that’s 57 percent African-American and where 41 percent of residents live in poverty.”

As Weaver faced a recall vote last week against Scott Kincaid, water quality was once again front and center.

“The election’s biggest issue is the future source of Flint’s water,” Grist reported. “Weaver tried to sign a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority just last week, but a federal judge denied the request.”

Kincaid opposed the water deal, but when voting results came in, it was clear that the people of Flint continue to back Weaver.

“In a landslide victory, the Flint mayor pulled ahead in the 18-person mayoral race, snagging nearly 53 percent of Flint’s vote, according to unofficial results,” per Michigan Live. “She will now serve out the remainder of her elected term until November 2019.”

As she does so, lead contamination will remain a focus of her efforts.

“We’re going to continue with those lead service lines, we’re gonna continue to bring businesses and make sure we’re focused on economic development, make sure we’re focused on what we need to do as far as public safety,” Weaver said, according to Michigan Live.

To read more about Flint’s struggles with water quality visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Regulations And Legislation Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Vote," Joe Shlabotnik, 2012, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license:https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/