Free water ending for Flint, despite city disputing safety of water
FLINT, Mich. (WJBK) - The line of people standing and waiting for bottled water stretches down Dort Highway in Flint, as far as the eye can see. They're all waiting for clean water -- just like they've been doing for the last four years, ever since the water supply switched to the Flint River to save money in April 2014.
Thousands of children and seniors and pets were poisoned by lead leaching from the service lines to Flint homes. A dozen people died from Legionnaires' disease. Now the state says enough tests show the water is clean enough to end distribution of bottled water when supplies run out.
"We have worked diligently to restore the water quality and the scientific data now proves the water system is stable and the need for bottled water has ended," Snyder said last week. "We will now focus even more of our efforts on continuing with the health, education and economic development assistance needed to help move Flint forward."
Residents aren't buying it.
Mayor Karen Weaver says she's requesting a meeting with Snyder, and that this was not part of the plan. She says three rounds of testing is simply not enough for residents to feel comfortable.
"One of the things we said right from the beginning that those pods stay open until we got through the lead service line replacements. We're not through that yet," Weaver said. "I think the governor, that was very insensitive to the people when you look at everything we've been through."
MORE: Michigan gives Ice Mountain green light to take more water
Activists say it's par for the course for an administration they say values profits over people. Tony Paciorek with Michigan United cites the recent controversial decision to allow Nestle to increase pumping in Michigan for it's Ice Mountain brand water to 576,000 gallons a day while paying only $200 dollars per year.
"Why is it that Nestle gets free water while the residents of Flint suffer and have to pay the highest water rates in the country?" Paciorek asks.
Michigan United is calling for a boycott and plans a bus trip to the state capitol. City councilwoman Monica Galloway says city leaders are beyond frustrated by the state's latest move.
"We want our children to feel comfortable in their homes bathing, brushing their teeth, washing their hair. So until that's done in every single household in this community - you should give us whatever we need," Galloway said.
Michigan ends free bottled water for Flint residents