By Sara Jerome
The city of Flint, MI, is facing pressure from the federal government to spend money it received to improve its drinking water infrastructure.
“Millions of dollars in federal money were designated to help Flint recover from the water crisis, but now the government wants to know why Flint is taking so long to spend the money,” WNEM reported.
“In March the city was given $100 million in federal funds and $20 million in state funds to combat the water crisis. Out of the $120 million made available, the EPA said only $11 million in federal funds and less than $200,000 in state funds have been touched,” the report said.
The U.S. EPA called for greater transparency around Flint’s water problems.
“An EPA letter [in December] said making information about the treatment and distribution of water available remains one of four broad ‘outstanding requirements’ for the city and state in connection to an EPA emergency order issued nearly two years ago,” MLive reported.
Flint City Councilman Santino Guerra stressed that the water crisis is a long-term problem.
"I know we've been going over plans. I know we were able to get more money since we all agreed to go with the long term water source. One of the things we're trying to focus on is getting new water meters so that water rates can be more reasonable and not have these high water bills," Guerra said.
Flint’s lead crisis, which left hundreds of children with elevated blood lead levels, followed the city’s switch from the Detroit water supply to Flint River water. When Flint changed sources, it became responsible for its own treatment processes. The city has since returned to Detroit water provided by the Great Lakes Water Authority.
Meanwhile, the effort is ongoing to hold government officials accountable for the Flint water crisis.
“Four of the 15 current and former state and city employees charged with crimes related to the Flint water crisis have now taken misdemeanor plea deals with special prosecutors from Attorney General Bill Schuette's office,” MLive reported.
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Image credit: "20161004-FNS-LSC-0039," U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2016. Public Domain: https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/