November 15, 2016 (FLINT, Mich)— Mayor Karen Weaver stood with Flint City officials and Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell at a press conference today at Flint City Hall. She told reporters she has signed a new Emergency Declaration to extend the State of Emergency in Flint due to the ongoing effects of the Flint water crisis.
“The fact of the matter is we still cannot drink our water without a filter,” said Mayor Weaver. “That is why I have signed a declaration to renew the state of emergency in the City of Flint until the lingering issues have been resolved and the water is deemed safe to drink.”
Mayor Weaver thanked the Flint City Council for voting Monday evening in favor of the measure. She urged county, state and federal leaders to follow their lead and reinstate emergency declarations for the city which is still in the midst of a public health and civil rights crisis caused by lead-tainted drinking water.
Weaver said extending the State of Emergency in Flint will let the public know the citizens and the City of Flint are not out of the woods and still need help.
“We cannot let this story die until the problem that was caused through no fault of our own has been fixed, we must continue to give this issue the attention it deserves,” said Weaver. “I want to thank the Flint City Council for voting to support the extension. Next, we will send the declaration to county officials. We hope to again have the support from leaders on all levels of government including the state and federal levels.”
Signing the Emergency Declaration a year ago was one of the first things Mayor Weaver did after being elected last November. That declaration expired Monday, November 14, 2016, prompting her to sign a new Emergency Declaration.
“This problem is much too big for Flint to handle on its own, we need funding and other resources from the state and federal government to achieve our goal of replacing all of the lead-tainted pipes in Flint and to continue providing support services for those impacted by drinking water poisoned with lead. We didn’t cause this public health crisis, but we continue to live with it every day,” Weaver commented.
Flint residents have been dealing with lead-tainted drinking water since a state-appointed emergency manager switched the City’s water source to the Flint River in 2014 without the necessary corrosion control chemicals being added. The corrosive water removed a protective coating on the inside of the pipes, causing lead to leach into the water flowing to homes and businesses in the City of Flint.
While the quality of Flint’s water supply has been gradually improving since the city switched back a year ago to water delivered from Lake Huron by the Great Lakes Water Authority, residents are still only able to drink filtered water, and many continue to rely on bottled water.
“The mayor is correct to assert that the emergency still exists in the City of Flint, and I will carry that message back to the county commissioners,” said Sheriff Robert Pickell.
Federal and state emergency declarations expired August 14, although both levels of government have continued their work to resolve the water crisis. Mayor Weaver has tapped $25 million in state funds to replace lead-tainted service lines at more than 350 homes so far and hopes to get lines replaced to nearly 700 more homes this fall under her FAST Start initiative before winter temporarily halts the work.