Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced Friday that the state would stop providing free water bottles to residents of Flint, a city that has struggled to recover from a state-led water crisis due to the contamination of its primary water source.
Snyder said that he had made the decision because water quality had “tested below action levels of the federal Lead and Copper Rule for nearly two years.” Snyder said the state had provided more than $350 million, in addition to $100 million in federal aid, to improve the water quality in Flint.
The state will soon close the last four locations where Flint residents have been getting free bottled water, filters, replacement cartridges and testing kits, as early as this week.
Leaders in Flint say that the move is insensitive. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said she only heard about the discontinuation of the free water bottle program moments before it was announced.
The New York Times reports that although officials say that the city’s water supply meets federal standards, it can still pick up lead “when it flows through the thousands of lead or galvanized steel.”
More than 4 percent of water samples collected in the final round of testing at Flint Community Schools’ buildings had elevated levels of lead, according to reports published online by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
“We did not cause the manmade water disaster,” Mayor Weaver said. “Therefore adequate resources should continue being provided until the problem is fixed and all the lead and galvanized pipes have been replaced.”
State Sen. Jim Ananich, who is from Flint, says he questions the state administration’s honesty since trust has long been broken between the city and the state.
“It’s beyond belief that the governor expects the folks in Flint to trust the government now, when they lied to our faces about lead in our water just a few years ago,” Ananich said in a statement. “That trust was broken, and families in Flint still don’t feel that the water in their homes is safe to drink.”