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Flint residents line up again for free water as state & local officials talk

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

People lined up in single digit cold outside a church on Flint’s south side to get some free water this morning.  A few blocks away, others lined up outside a union hall. 

Combined, Catholic Charities and the UAW were giving away several thousand gallons of water.

Mary Stevenson with Catholic Charities was helping coordinate today’s water giveaway.

“No one’s been giving out water on the south side of Flint,” says Stevenson, “So we came here.”

Flint residents have been complaining for months of the city’s water.   Last April, the city switched from Detroit water to the Flint River as the source of the city’s tap water, and also changed how the water was treated.  Since then, residents have complained about the water’s taste, smell and appearance.   The city has also been cited for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act for higher than acceptable levels of a disinfectant bi-product.   

Emma Jones was among those in line to pick up gallon jugs of water at Lincoln Park United Methodist Church.  

“I can’t afford to continue to buy water,” says Jones, “This free water is really going to help me out a lot.”

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Those in line were limited to four gallons of water

Pastor Maurice Horne watched the steady stream of people enter his church to get free water.

He concedes handing out free water won’t solve Flint’s water problems.

“But we can make a difference one gallon at a time,” Horne says with a smile.

City officials insist Flint’s water is safe to drink. 

State and local officials will hold a news conference later today to discuss potential state resources that can be used to help improve Flint’s aging water system.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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