The Flint, Mich., City Council refused to approve a 30-year contract with Great Lakes Water Authority out of Detroit on Monday, despite a mandatory deadline imposed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. On Wednesday the state responded by filing a lawsuit against Flint, alleging that the city is endangering public health as the ongoing saga of lead-contaminated water continues.
DEQ gave the City Council until June 26 either to approve the long-term plan recommended by Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, propose a reasonable alternative or face legal action. As the Associated Press notes, the council instead approved a short-term extension of its current contract with GLWA.
“Ensuring that the residents of Flint have drinking water that meets public health standards is our primary concern,” DEQ Director Heidi Grether told AP in a phone interview.
Neither state nor federal officials want the city’s water supplier to change for a third time. A 2014 change, while the city was under state management, resulted in the lead contamination that continues to this day.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday says that there is no other currently available water source for the city of Flint, and AP reports that the state seeks not only to bar Flint from switching again but also to require it to enter into the 30-year contract with GLWA to comply with federal and state drinking-water laws.
The suit says that the agreement, negotiated by Weaver, “is the only option that will be protective of public health in Flint, ensure the future financial violability of Flint’s water fund and promote investment in Flint’s water distribution system.”
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.