FLINT (WWJ/AP) – The Flint City Council has narrowly approved a 30-year agreement to get drinking water from a regional agency after court-ordered negotiations.
The deal was approved Tuesday by a 5-4 vote after hours of debate and comments from dozens of residents.
The pact means the Great Lakes Water Authority will continue to serve Flint. It has been providing water for the Michigan city since fall 2015, when Gov. Rick Snyder acknowledged a lead crisis related to use of Flint River water.
Mayor Karen Weaver, who pushed for the deal, called it “a long time coming.” Critics say the agreement doesn’t sufficiently benefit residents.
Under the deal, a Flint representative will be appointed to the authority’s governing board. The city will also be relieved of debts owed to the Karegnondi Water Authority.
Flint was under state control when it switched from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River in 2014 to save money, but did not treat it 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.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.