Flint Must Maintain Contract That Indirectly Sparked the Water Crisis

By Yessenia Funes Jun 21, 2016

The toxic tap water problem in Flint, Michigan, is far from solved.

In a press conference today (June 21), Mayor Karen Weaver said that the city can’t break its contract with the Karegnondi Water Authority. The decision to work with the private municipal corporation contributed to the Flint water crisis

“I’m not excited about this,” said Weaver in a joint presser with Gov. Rick Synder, according to the Wall Street Journal. “But you have to work with the hand that you’re dealt.”

The crisis began in 2014 when Flint’s governor-appointed emergency manager decided not to renew the city’s contract for safe Lake Huron water delivery with the Detroit Water & Sewage Department. Claiming that the city would save money, manager Ed Kurtz signed with Karegnondi, a 6-year-old company building its own pipeline to Lake Huron.

Because Karegnondi wasn’t slated to complete the pipeline until late June or early July of this year, the city began using Flint River water temporarily. But that water went untreated because state regulators failed to require the city to do it. The Flint River water corroded the city’s aging pipes, leaching lead into residents’ faucets. 

At the press conference, Snyder announced that the state would provide $4.2 million of the estimated $7 million Flint needs to meet Environmental Protection Agency regulations and test the now available Karegnondi water before the city distributes it. He has also released nearly 180,000 pages of e-mails related to Flint water today.

Until the EPA-mandated testing is completed, city residents are receiving their water from Detroit again, but they are still being advised to drink filtered tap water or bottled water.