Four years after the start of the Flint water crisis, the state of Michigan will stop providing free bottled water for residents in the city. On Friday (April 6), the state announced a plan to phase out the service for Flint residents because the water quality has been restored.
The state will stop giving out free water once the current supply, which is housed at four distribution sites, runs out. Although no official date was announced, the supply could be depleted within a week, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
In March, the DEQ released a report revealing that more than 90 percent of unfiltered water at all 13 Community School Buildings in Flint tested below federal led standards.
“I have said all along that ensuring the quality of the water in Flint and helping the people and the city move forward were a top priority for me and my team,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in a press release. “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.”
”For the past two years I have repeatedly been asked when I would declare the water safe in Flint and I have always said that no arbitrary decision would be made — that we would let the science take us to that conclusion,” Snyder continued. “Since Flint’s water is now well within the standards set by the federal government, we will now focus even more of our efforts on continuing with the health, education and economic development assistance needed to help move Flint forward.”
While the bottled water program may be ending, “the state’s commitment to the residents of Flint remains strong,” Rich Baird, senior advisor to Gov. Snyder said.
But the announcement isn’t going over well with everyone. “It’s too quick,” Melissa Mays, a Flint activist from the group Water You Fighting, according to the Detroit Free Press. Mays said that the state is putting “dollars and cents” over Flint residents. “Which is how we got here in the first place,” she added.
The four-year long environmental calamity is expected to have lasting effects on residents of the city. Aside from the overall health of residents who were forced to drink, bathe, and cook with contaminated water, the Flint Water Crisis has been found to contribute to fetal deaths and low fertility rates.