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State works on water delivery plan in Flint, while appealing judge's order

Sink in Flint with a warning sign.
Virginia Tech
Sink in Flint with a warning sign. Researchers say the water has been improving in the city.

A federal appeals court may weigh in this week on a lower court order that directs the state of Michigan and the city of Flint to start delivering water to homes without a working filter.

The city’s is still dealing with a public health crisis after it was found tap water was contaminated with elevated levels of lead. Recent tests by researchers with Virginia Tech show significant improvement in lead levels, but the use of filters is still encouraged.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson denied the state’s request to put his order on hold. The order says water delivery should begin immediately.

Anna Heaton is a governor’s spokeswoman. She says the state has been working on a plan, while appealing the ruling.

“It’s still in process,” says Anna Heaton, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder, “but again, we have to have a logistical operation and we also have to find funding.”

Heaton says the money will likely have to come from funds already earmarked for Flint’s water crisis. 

Teams are visiting Flint homes to see if their water filters are properly installed. 

Dozens of paid staffers have visited Flint homes this year, as part of an outreach program designed to answer questions about the city’s water crisis. City and state officials say they plan to more than double the number of staffers going door to door.

George Krisztian is the Flint Action Plan Coordinator, as well as Asst. Chief Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Krisztian says talking to residents about water filters is a top priority.

“And make sure they have all the information necessary to insure that they are using the filters properly and effectively,” says Krisztian.

Long term, the city continues to replace old pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains.  But that process may continue for years and cost more than $100 million.  

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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