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Expert recommends changes to Flint's water system

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

An outside expert is making some surprising recommendations to fix Flint’s water woes.

The report issued Tuesday recommends Flint discontinue the process of fluoridation, among other things.

Last April, Flint switched from getting its water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River, as it transitions to a new system that will pull water from Lake Huron.  Since the switch, Flint residents have been complaining about the smell, taste and appearance of their tap water. The system has also dealt with numerous boil water advisories, and been cited for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. 

Robert Bowcock works with environmental activist Erin Brockovich. He was brought in by Flint residents angry about the cost and safety concerns over the city’s tap water.    

Bowcock spent several days this month touring the city’s water system and reviewing data.

Tuesday, he released his recommendations for fixing the system. 

Bowcock says Flint should discontinue fluoridation, recarbonation and other chemical treatments of Flint River water. The report also calls for changes to the city’s treatment and distribution systems, as well as rethinking how customer rates are set. 

The report also calls for evaluating the sources of water feeding into the Flint River.

“Mr. Bowcock has put forward thoughtful suggestions that deserve serious consideration,” says Flint Mayor Dayne Walling. 

The city has also hired its own outside consultant to review its troubled water system. 

Flint officials are setting up an advisory committee made up of Flint business and civic leaders to provide the community with information about the city’s water supply.  Some residents who’ve complained about Flint’s water problems are upset they were not invited to be part of the commission.  

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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