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Flint pastors ask court to order city to go back to Detroit water

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A coalition of pastors and other groups is asking a judge to force the city of Flint to go back to getting its tap water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. 

Last year, the city shut off the DWSD pipeline and started tapping the Flint River. Since then, there have been numerous problems with the city’s tap water, from being cloudy and smelly to having high levels of e-coli and other chemicals.

The city is still in violation of Safe Drinking Water Act for higher than acceptable levels of a disinfectant by-product. Though city officials insist the levels of that by-product have been under acceptable levels for months. 

Attorney Trachelle Young says Flint should go back to getting its tap water from Detroit "until such time they can prove to the residents that the water we are consuming is safe and clean for our consumption.”
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

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But assurances from city officials that the water is safe to drinks are not enough for some.

“Until they can prove that they can meet the standards, then we should not be forced to drink the water,” Attorney Trachelle Young told reporters, after she filed a request for an injunction on Friday. The suit names the city and city administrator Natasha Henderson. 

The request asks the court to compel the city of Flint to stop taking water from the Flint River. 

Flint city officials did not directly comment on the suit. 

But a written statement released by the city claims Flint's water system has been fully reviewed and improvements have been made. The release also notes ongoing efforts to improve the city’s water treatment facilities and to reduce costs to customers.

“These measures demonstrate that the safety, quality and affordability of water has been and remains a top priority for the city of Flint,” the statement reads.

The city has three weeks to respond to the pastors’ suit. 

A hearing on the suit is scheduled for June 15.   

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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