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2 years after governor declared emergency, officials say there has been progress in Flint

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

It’s been two years since Governor Rick Snyder followed the lead of local officials and declared a state of emergency in Flint.

Officials say progress is being made.

The governor’s Jan. 5th 2016 declaration followed similar declarations by Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (Dec. 14th, 2015) and the Genesee County Commission (Jan. 4th, 2016).    President Obama issued his own declaration11 days later.

At the time, tests showed lead levels in Flint tap water far exceeded the federal action level for lead (15 parts per billion).  

Later this month, the state is expected to release the results of its latest six-month monitoring period of Flint tap water.  Preliminary results suggest the numbers should show lead levels continue to decline to levels well within the federal standard.    

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says “it does appear from the testing that the water quality in Flint has improved tremendously as it relates to lead”.  The mayor also cites the replacement of more than 6,000 lead service lines during the past two years.  The city hopes to replace another 12,000 lead pipes connecting homes and businesses to city water mains over the next two years.

But Weaver adds more must be done to make “needed repairs and improvements to the city’s infrastructure.”

Overall, governor’s spokesman Ari Adler says, “Flint has come a long way in the past two years”.

Gov. Snyder and his team continue to focus on improving the water quality of Flint, as well as the overall quality of life for Flint residents,” says Adler. “Through more than $350 million in state taxpayer funding, Flint has seen a resurgence in economic development as well as increased availability of healthcare, nutritional offerings, and educational resources.”

But many Flint residents still don’t believe their tap water is safe to drink. People continue to stop at local distribution centers to pick up free cases of bottled water.

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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