Friday marks 1,323 days that the people of Flint, Mich., have been without clean water. Although the water is reportedly testing below the federal-action threshold, pipe replacement and infrastructure changes in the city have left residents relying on bottled water and filters for clean drinking water. The state-supplied bottled water may soon come to an end, however.
According to MLive.com, a Dec. 6 email from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Tiffany Brown indicated that if testing during the final months of 2017 “continues to trend well below the federal action level through December, the state would likely revisit the availability of state-supplied bottled water at that time.”
While Brown’s email said that no final decision has been made as of yet, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver issued a statement Wednesday citing comments from Rich Baird, senior adviser to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, to city officials that the water-distribution program could end next month.
In her statement, Weaver said, “Before I can support this move, I need to hear from the doctors we have been working with for the last two years … and I would hope that state officials would ask for their professional opinions as well, before shutting down the [points of water distribution].”
The latest round of testing for lead and copper covered sampling from the first six months of this year and found that the city’s 90th percentile for lead was at 7 parts per billion, MLive.com reports. While far better than the results for the last six months of 2016, that number is still higher than 92.6 percent of the 1,333 water systems the DEQ regulates.
The federal-action level for the 90th percentile is 15 parts per billion.
None of those results, however, make the people living and working in Flint feel any better about the water.
Megan Bohley, a registered nurse who works in the city of Flint, told The Root: “I don’t live in the city of Flint, but I’m a registered nurse here. A majority of the consumers we see are from the city of Flint. My job as a nurse is to help people get and stay healthy. How can they do that with contaminated water? How can I tell someone ‘Make sure you’re drinking eight glasses of water a day,’ not knowing where it’s coming from or if they’re living in the parts where pipes have been changed?”
About the possibility of the bottled-water program ending, Bohley said, “Now they’re trying to take away what little clean water they have access to. I understand they’re telling us the water is clean, but it was ‘clean’ when they all drank it on TV. I just hope the citizens aren’t hurt any further than they already have been.”
Bohley does her part to try to help the patients she serves.
“I bring my own water from home so I can leave it for the consumers that come in the office. I’ve seen the rashes the water has caused. It just sometimes feels like no one cares out here,” she said.
If only the state cared as much as she does.
Read more at MLive.