April 6, 2018 (FLINT, Mich) —State officials informed Mayor Karen Weaver at 12:45 pm today, moments before a public release, of their plans to stop supplying bottled water and funding needed to continue the operation of water distribution sites, known as PODS, and Access and Functional Needs (AFN) home delivery services in the City of Flint. Due to this decision, state officials say PODS in Flint will close once the current supply is depleted. Given residents’ response to the announcement, it is expected water will be exhausted over the weekend.
“I know this is not the situation any of us want to be in,” said Mayor Weaver. “We did not cause the man-made water disaster, therefore adequate resources should continue being provided until the problem is fixed and all the lead and galvanized pipes have been replaced. I will be contacting the Governor’s office immediately to express the insensitivity of the decision he made today and to make sure he is aware of the additional needs that I have requested for the residents of Flint.”
State officials point to results from recent water quality tests conducted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) at sites around Flint, which they say show the water is safe for residents to drink from the tap. State officials say that given this information, bottled water no longer needs to be provided.
“There are still questions that remain,” said Dr. Pamela Pugh, Chief Public Health Advisor for the City of Flint. “We have not received clear steps as to how the remaining lead in Flint schools will be remediated or how ongoing monitoring will continue for our most vulnerable populations. Additionally, the medical community has continuously raised questions as to how special populations, including nursing and bottle-feeding mothers, will receive bottled water while massive pipe replacement work is ongoing.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), based on an American Water Works Association standard, has warned that contractor work on service lines can cause particulate lead releases into the water. Additionally, the EPA has warned that usage of point-of-use filters may increase opportunistic pathogens, which pose a risk to severely immunocompromised individuals.
While state officials say state-funded bottled water will no longer be provided in Flint, water filters will continue to be made available to the public free of charge. Residents can request water filters and detailed instructions on how to properly install and maintain filters by contacting Community Outreach and Resident Education (CORE) officials at (810) 238-6700.