Despite the fact the the city is still using the lead pipes that lead to the Flint Water Crisis four years ago, Michigan Governor Rick Synder has announced that the state will stop providing free bottled water to citizens of Flint.
The current water distribution sites for the city will only continue providing free bottled water until their supply runs out, which will most likely be by this weekend.
Flint city officials criticized the decision, stating that it was too soon and that city is still recovering from the massive water crisis that left residents with extreme levels of lead in their tap water in 2014.
Synder claims that the water quality is “well within standards” the federal government has put into place, and has been for nearly two years.
He continued, “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.”
But residents and city officials disagree. Flint May Karen Weaver said she only found out about the program ending right before the announcement:
“I know this is not the situation any of us want to be in. We did not cause the man-made water disaster, therefore adequate resources should continue being provided until the problem is fixed and all the lead and galvanized pipes have been replaced.”
Residents continue to be distrusting of the government and their claims that the water is safe. One man, who rushed to a water distribution center after the announcement was made stated, “How do you trust a government after they let this happen?”
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician that witnessed children in Flint’s rising blood lead levels and helped expose the crisis, believes that free bottled water should be provided until all the lead pipes are replaced:
This is wrong.
— Mona Hanna-Attisha (@MonaHannaA) April 6, 2018
The lead crisis started as a result of the state officials switching Flint’s main water source from Lake Huron to Flint River without treating the water properly with corrosion control chemicals. According to Steve Branch, the acting city administration, over 6,000 lead or galvanized steel waterlines have been replaced so far, with nearly 12,000 left that could still be in the city. Water traveling through those leftover pipes can still pick up lead. It is estimated that all pipes will be replaced by 2020.