Flint mayor says water switch ‘too risky’ after lead crisis
FLINT | In a reversal, Mayor Karen Weaver on Tuesday recommended that Flint keep getting its drinking water from a Detroit-area system for the long term, saying a planned switch would be too risky and expensive following a human-made crisis that left the supply contaminated with lead.
“Ensuring the public’s health and
safety is our No. 1 top priority,” she said at a news conference.
Flint’s water was tainted with lead for at least 18 months, starting in spring 2014. While under the control of state-appointed financial managers, the city tapped the Flint River as its water source to save money while a new regional pipeline — which officials determined would be less expensive than Detroit-area water — was being built to Lake Huron.
But the river water was not treated to reduce corrosion. As a result, lead leaching from old pipes and fixtures caused elevated levels in children.
There were E. coli detections and
high levels of a carcinogenic disinfectant byproduct.
Experts also suspect a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak was tied to the water. Flint returned to the Great Lakes Water Authority, which also services Detroit, in 2015.