As of Thursday, the people of Flint, Mich., have been without a clean and stable water system they could trust for 1,604 days. The city’s water service lines are in the process of being replaced, but experts have said even that improvement comes with the danger of reintroducing lead into the water supply. The city and the state continue to bicker back and forth over who is the baddest, and all the while the people are the ones who continue to suffer.
In the midst of all this madness, a city official recently revealed that the Flint is unable to account for where the 12 million gallons of water that run through the city’s pipes each day is going.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a plan that would allow the city to replace thousand of water meters, Michigan Radio reports. Flint Chief Financial Officer Hughey Newsome told the station that the new meters will help the city improve water bill collections and reduce water theft. He then admitted that the city has no idea where all the water being used is going.
“If you think about the 12 million gallons per day of water that flows through the water system; we can’t account for all of that water,” Newsome said.
The EPA approved the city’s plan to install 11,000 new meters over the course of 18 months, beginning as early as this fall. Money for the project is being pulled from a $120 million fund set aside by the federal and state government to help Flint recover from the lead-contamination crisis.
The plan also has the support of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
State spokeswoman Tiffany Brown told Michigan Radio, “The DEQ worked closely with the city of Flint in the development of the state’s intended use plan for the utilization of (Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act) funds to improve infrastructure throughout the city.”
Mayor Karen Weaver also expressed pleasure with the deal, telling Michigan Radio, “This award is a step in the right direction to help Flint recover from decisions made that ultimately created the Flint Water crisis.”
So, when is the water going to be potable again?