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Flint gets only one applicant for water consultant

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint’s search for a consultant to help with its water problems is down to one, by default.

Only one company applied for the water consultant job.  

Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose says he “would have preferred more.” 

But he promises Flint will hire outside experts to examine the city’s water problems.

“Someone who may look at us and say ‘Did you try this?’  ‘Did you try that?'” Ambrose told reporters at a news conference.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Flint Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose (right) says “We got what we got and we’re going to evaluate it. But I tell you we’re going to end up with an expert consultant." Flint Public Works Director Howard Croft listens.

Flint residents have complained about the water since the city switched from Detroit water to the Flint River.

During the past nine months, the water pouring from the taps in Flint homes has often appeared cloudy.   Residents have complained about the water’s smell as well. 

Several times since the city switched to the Flint River, the city had to issue boil water advisories. It's also been cited for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. 

The city wants to hire a consultant with experience with how to handle water taken from a river, as opposed to other sources.

Ambrose hopes to complete the review of the lone applicant’s qualifications by the end of next week.

Ambrose downplays going back to Detroit water as an option.  

He says the $1 million a month price tag is too high. Also, the city sold a key section of pipeline that used to connect Flint to Detroit. 

Flint city officials remain committed to a plan to get its future water from a new pipeline being constructed from Lake Huron. But water won’t be flowing through the KWA pipeline until sometime in 2016. 

Meanwhile, Flint residents have been lining up for free bottled water.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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