News Feature | October 31, 2017

Flint Under Mounting Pressure To Choose New Water Source

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

gavel reg new

The question of what Flint, MI, will choose as its long-term water source remains up in the air years after the city’s lead-contamination crisis began.

“A federal judge has ordered Flint, Michigan, to choose a long-term source of drinking water. The judge said the Flint City Council has committed a ‘breathtaking’ failure of leadership in its dealings with the state of Michigan,” the Associated Press reported.

“Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration sued Flint to force the council to approve a 30-year deal with the Great Lakes Water Authority, a regional agency. Mayor Karen Weaver has signed off but that’s not enough. The council has repeatedly said it needs more time to study its options,” the report said.

Flint’s lead crisis, which left hundreds of children with high 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, but it has no officially decided to make that water source long term.

In a ruling issued this month, Judge David Lawson said Flint officials have stalled too long in choosing a water source for the city, according to the Detroit Free Press.

"There has been no resolution: the City Council has not voted on the negotiated agreement, it has not proposed an alternative, and the future of Flint's fragile water system — its safety, reliability and financial stability — is in peril," Lawson stated, per the report. "Because of the City's indecision, the Court must issue its ruling."

Meanwhile, the effort is ongoing to hold government officials accountable for the Flint water crisis.

“Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette wants to award another $2.6 million to the law firm handling the criminal investigation and prosecution arising from the Flint drinking water crisis, which would push total outside legal costs for the public health catastrophe above $25 million,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

Image credit: "Rumble Press," 3D_Judges_Gavel © 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/