LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver plan to meet to discuss the city’s drinking water crisis days after Snyder declared a state of emergency in Genesee County.
The meeting is scheduled for Thursday morning at the governor’s office in Lansing. The new director of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Keith Creagh, will also be there.READ MORE: Detroit Community Leaders Break Ground On New Community Center In Jefferson Chalmers
“We didn’t deserve what happened here in Flint and it shouldn’t happen to any other community,” Weaver said in an exclusive interview with WWJ’s Charlie Langton. “We’re not going to stop until we get some kind of action here.”
Snyder’s decision to declare an emergency followed emergency declarations by Flint and Genesee County, which requested help from the state.
The city switched from Detroit’s water system to Flint River water in a cost-cutting move in 2014, while under state financial management. That was intended as a temporary step while a pipeline was built from Lake Huron. Residents complained about the water’s taste, smell and appearance, and children were found to have elevated levels of lead due to the water supply. Exposure to lead can cause behavior problems and learning disabilities in children.
The city switched back to Detroit’s water in October once lead was found in more children, but concerns remain, including how badly corrosive water from the Flint River damaged aging pipes. The city last month began adding additional corrosion controls to Detroit’s water in an attempt to rebuild the protective scale in its pipes, which is estimated to reduce lead levels in two to six months.READ MORE: AAA: Michigan's Average Gas Price Continues To Rise, 1 Cent Below National
Weaver said finances will be a major point in her discussion with the governor. She estimates it will take about $1 billion to fix the infrastructure — alone — that was contaminated by lead.
“We’ve exhausted our funds and we know the city of Flint can’t be fixed without some federal assistance,” she said. “I don’t believe that the state has enough money to do what we need to have done.”
Last week, Snyder apologized and Michigan’s top environmental regulator resigned after a task force created by Snyder blamed problems on his agency. Administration officials have pledged to cooperate fully with any federal requests.
The state initially downplayed lead concerns but ultimately had to commit $10.6 million to reconnect Flint to Detroit and to respond with filters, testing and other services.
The city’s request for a disaster declaration includes roughly $50 million in aid, most of which is taken up by $45 million to replace 15,000 lead service lines — “one of the most cost-intensive endeavors related to ameliorating water contaminants” in its system, according to the application. It also seeks $2 million in reimbursement costs for reconnecting to Detroit’s system.MORE NEWS: Ethan Crumbley To Remain In Oakland County Jail, Judge Orders
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