FLINT (WWJ/AP) – The election of new City Council members might break an impasse and lead to a long-term deal over drinking water in Flint, Michigan.
The state has been asking a federal judge to allow Flint’s mayor to bypass the council and approve a 30-year agreement with the Great Lakes Water Authority. It’s part of a strategy to get the city past a lead contamination crisis.
Judge David Lawson said Thursday he’ll postpone a hearing until Nov. 20, a week after five new council members take office.
Lawson had ordered the former council to come up with a long-term water source by Oct. 23. Instead, the council asked for more time.
Flint was under state control when it switched from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River in 2014 to save money. The river water was not properly treated to prevent pipe corrosion. Toxic lead from old plumbing leached into the water system, causing elevated levels in children and leaving residents to drink and bathe with bottled or filtered water.
During the public health emergency, E. coli was detected along with high levels of a carcinogenic disinfectant byproduct. Experts suspect a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak was tied to the water.
The city has since returned to Detroit’s system.
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