Michigan ends free bottled water program for Flint residents — City officials criticize move: 5 things to know

Michigan will no longer provide Flint residents free bottled water because lead levels in the city's water supply have not exceeded federal limits for two years and are now comparable or better than lead levels in other Michigan cities, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said April 6.

Here are five things to know.

1. Preliminary data for the first half of the current 6-month monitoring period shows 90 percent of Flint water samples previously deemed high risk were at or below federal standards, according to the Governor's office.

"We have worked diligently to restore the water quality and the scientific data now proves the water system is stable and the need for bottled water has ended," Mr. Snyder said. "Since Flint's water is now well within the standards set by the federal government, we will now focus even more of our efforts on continuing with the health, education and economic development assistance needed to help move Flint forward. I remain steadfast in that commitment."

2. City officials, including Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, took issue with the decision. Ms. Weaver said she was informed of the situation just moments before the governor's offices issued a release announcing the change.

"We did not cause the man-made water disaster, therefore adequate resources should continue being provided until the problem is fixed and all the lead and galvanized pipes have been replaced," Ms. Weaver said. "I will be contacting the Governor's office immediately to express the insensitivity of the decision he made today and to make sure he is aware of the additional needs that I have requested for the residents of Flint."

3. Contractors are currently working to change all of the water lines identified for replacement after the city's water crisis by 2020. While more than 6,200 have been replaced, Steve Branch, the acting city administrator, said an estimated 12,000 could remain, according to The New York Times. The governor's office said water filters will still be available to "residents who have service line replacements underway at their homes or would feel more comfortable using a filter until their confidence in the water quality can be reestablished."

4. Dr. Pamela Pugh, Flint's chief public health advisor, said questions remain regarding how residents will continue to be kept safe from lead-contaminated water.

"We have not received clear steps as to how the remaining lead in Flint schools will be remediated or how ongoing monitoring will continue for our most vulnerable populations," Dr. Hugh said. "Additionally, the medical community has continuously raised questions as to how special populations, including nursing and bottle-feeding mothers, will receive bottled water while massive pipe replacement work is ongoing."

5. As of Friday, April 6, the four remaining distribution centers in Flint were slated to provide bottled water until existing supplies ran out. Over the weekend, long lines of residents looking to claim the remaining free water formed outside these centers, which have been distributing water to residents since January 2016, according to the Times. The Mayor's office said April 6 it anticipated the remaining supply of free bottled watered would be completely depleted over the weekend.

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