Governor Rick Snyder signed a bipartisan bill Friday that will require public water supply systems to tell customers about elevated lead levels. The law would require notification within three days of discovering lead levels are above the federal action level. Notification is already required – but the three-day rule is new.
Governor Rick Snyder said the bill is an important first step.
“The people of Flint went through something they shouldn’t of had to go through, and we need to recover from that,” he said. “We need to fix the problems, move forward, and make Flint a better, stronger place for the long-term.”
The new law would not have helped Flint, though. That’s because state officials skirted federal rules for calculating Flint’s lead number. They directed the city to change a report. The change meant Flint came just under – instead of over – the action level.
Part of the ongoing criminal investigations into the Flint water crisis involve charges against officials who knew the water was bad, but did not tell the public.
Snyder says the goal is solve the water crisis, but to also improve healthcare, education, and economic struggles in Flint. One of the potential priorities for lawmakers next session is increasing the standards for water quality.
“This is a good start. About getting better, faster notification to the public when there’s a water issue in terms of exceeding levels,” Snyder said. “But we need to change those levels. We need to have stricter standards.”
Bill sponsor Representative Sheldon Neeley said he is proud of the partnership that went into the bill, and they will need to continue that partnership.
“Because we have a lot more work to continue to get us where we need to be,” he said. “But this is a great first step, all the collective pieces coming together to make sure that we have a good step, and a good warning system in the future if we ever have another issue like this.”