Jan 23, 2019

Flint Governor Commits to Giving Free Bottled Water

Flint Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declined to say whether she’ll push to resume state funding when donated supplies run out

Flint Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declined to say whether she’ll push to resume state funding when donated supplies run out
Flint Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declined to say whether she’ll push to resume state funding when donated supplies run out.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she is committed to ensuring Flint residents continue getting free bottled water until the city finishes replacing its lead service lines.

According to The Detroit News, Gov. Whitmer declined to say whether she’ll push to resume state funding when donated supplies run out.

“I think at this juncture, it’s too early to answer that question with any specificity,” Whitmer told reporters at an unrelated event in Lansing, according to The Detroit News. “What I will say is that until all the pipes are replaced, we’ve got to make sure that people have clean water to drink.”

Nestle Waters North America is expected to provide free bottled water to Flint residents through April as officials work to replace underground lead pipes in the wake of the city’s water contamination crisis, according to The Detroit News.

As a candidate, Whitmer criticized a 2018 permit renewal that allows Nestle to pump up to 400 gal of Michigan groundwater per minute for its Ice Mountain bottled water brand, according to The Detroit News. Whitmer also vowed to help cities across the state replace lead water pipes and restore bottled water service to Flint.

As of December, the city had replaced nearly 7,000 out of 18,300 lead or galvanized steel water pipes it had identified. According to The Detroit News, Mayor Karen Weaver said Flint hopes to complete the work by the end of 2019.

Former Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder announced in April 2018 that the state would no longer pay to provide bottled water in Flint. Snyder cited nearly two years of test results showing falling lead levels in city tap water as his reasoning.

Recent state testing shows lead levels in Flint water remain below the federal action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb). According to The Detroit News, a tougher 10 ppb state standard set to take effect in 2025. According to the state Department of Environmental Quality, between July 1 and Dec. 31, Flint water samples tested at or below 4 ppb for lead.

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