Michigan governor OKs $9.3M to end Flint water crisis

AP News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2015 5:43 PM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan city will receive $6 million in state funding to help switch its drinking water source after lead problems prompted officials to declare a public health emergency.

Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday quickly approved $9.3 million in aid to address Flint's water crisis after the Legislature finalized a bill earlier in the day. It also includes money for home water filters, inspections, health services and lab testing.

The 99,000-resident city stopped getting its water from Detroit's system last year in a cost-cutting move while under state emergency management but has had trouble with water from the Flint River. It was supposed to be an interim supply source until the city can join a new system scheduled to be completed next year.

The state corroborated findings of elevated lead levels in children and disclosed higher lead amounts in three Flint schools. Residents also have complained about the smell, taste and appearance of the water.

Returning to Detroit's system will cost $12 million through June. Flint will pay $2 million, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has pledged $4 million.

"Reconnecting to the Great Lakes Water Authority is only the first step, as the state will continue testing and inspections to ensure Flint families and children have clean water in their homes and schools," Snyder said in a statement.

The Flint River is more corrosive than Detroit's water from Lake Huron and, because controls were not implemented, the river water picked up lead from aging pipes that connect water mains to houses and businesses.

Lead, a metal that can cause developmental delays and learning disabilities, is just the latest issue since Flint changed its water supply in April 2014. There have been high levels of a disinfectant byproduct. Increased bacteria levels forced boil-water advisories.

"Unanimous support in both chambers to secure resources is heartening," said Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint. "This is an important and necessary step to fix the current crisis."

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Online:

House Bill 4102: http://1.usa.gov/1Lb4Em5

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This story has been corrected to show that water from the Flint River is more corrosive than that from Lake Huron, not Port Huron.