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Flint leaders ask for tougher federal drinking water rules

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint leaders want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen its regulation of public drinking water systems.

U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, and seven others testified today in front of the EPA's National Drinking Water Advisory Council. The Council is developing recommendations to the EPA about changes to its rule on lead and copper in water.

Kildee said the agency needs to tighten up its regulations to make sure what happened in Flint never happens again.

"The current rule, for example, did not require rigorous testing and modeling before switching to a new water source," said Kildee. "Something that back home seems unfathomable, to go from a source that is derived from the greatest freshwater source on the planet, surface freshwater source, the Great Lakes, to the Flint River, which, if you live in my hometown at the time seemed almost like a punchline to a joke." 

High lead levels were found in Flint's drinking water supply when the city switched to the Flint River for its water.

"The current rule also failed to require the city of Flint, which was under the management of the state government at the time, to add corrosion-control treatment," Kildee said. 

Kildee said changes to the rule should also promote accountability and transparency to restore public trust and ensure drinking water is safe.