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Flint officials experienced 'learning curve' in bottled water distribution program

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A top city official admits there has been a “learning curve” after the city of Flint took over bottled water distribution from the state two months ago.

Flint distributes more than 65,000 cases of bottled water a week, comparable to what the state was doing before it handed the job over to the city in September. The city is working with local churches, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and United Way of Genesee County to manage the water distribution program.  

Jameca-Patrick Singleton, Flint’s Chief Recovery Officer, admits there’s been a few things city officials had to learn.

“Things like logistics, the amount of water that is needed in the community, delivery schedules and what best works for the residents who we’re doing the home deliveries for,” says Singleton.

Flint’s tap water became contaminated with lead after the ill-fated switch to the Flint River.  Improperly treated river water damaged pipes, which leeched lead into the tap water. After a year and a half, the city’s drinking water source was switched to the Great Lakes Water Authority. Nevertheless, damaged lead pipes remain a problem.    

Despite government assurances that filtered tap water is safe to drink, many Flint residents continue to rely on 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.