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Consultant says Flint's water is safe (but there's still work to do)

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Steve Carmody
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Michigan Radio

Flint’s water is safe. That’s the opinion of a consultant hired by city officials.

But a preliminary report released yesterday says steps must be taken in the short and long-term to avoid problems with Flint’s water system.

Flint residents have been complaining about the taste and smell of the city’s water for nearly a year. Many are concerned the water’s not safe.

Josh Freeman is the president of the Flint City Council. He wants more specifics from the consultant the city is paying $40,000 to study Flint’s water system.

“My hope is they are going to come back next week with a set of specific steps that the city should take to insure we have safe, quality drinking water moving forward,” says Freeman. 

The preliminary report delivered Wednesday mentions many of the same issues and potential solutions cited in a report from independent water quality expert.

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Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
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Michigan Radio
Flint city officials listen during a consultant's presentation of a preliminary report on the city's water system

The city’s consultant promises to deliver specifics on what the city needs to do to fix its water problems.

Consultant David Gadis says his team is looking at what short and long-term steps must be done to fix the Flint system.

“It’s easy to stand on the sideline on Monday morning and say, ‘You got too much chlorine in it.’ Ok thanks. But how much chlorine should we use? That is what we are doing,” says Gadis. 

Gadis expects to deliver a final report to Flint officials in the next few weeks.

Flint residents have been complaining about the taste and smell of the city’s water for nearly a year. Many are concerned the water’s not safe.

The city of Flint was cited for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act, when a chlorine by-product tested at higher than acceptable levels last year. 

The problems began soon after the city started getting its tap water from the Flint River last April. For decades before that, Flint had gotten its water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. 

Many Flint residents want to go back to Detroit water.  But the city’s emergency manager has said that’s not an option. 

Flint will eventually get its tap water from a new pipeline being built from Lake Huron.  But that could be more than a year away.   

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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