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article imageMichigan governor wants to talk with Flint residents about water

By Nathan Salant     Jan 13, 2016 in Health
Flint - Officials in Flint, Mich., have promised to speak with every resident of the 99,000-population city to ensure they have clean water to drink and have not been exposed to lead contamination from the Flint River.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said Monday that state workers would be contacting every household in Flint to supply them with bottled water, water filters and access to health testing after it was revealed last fall that residents of the city near Detroit were drinking contaminated water in 2014 and 2015.
"This is a crisis," Snyder said at a news conference with state and local officials, according to the Associated Press.
"So we're responding appropriately; there's more work to be done," he said.
Snyder said the bottled water and health testing were temporary measures until the city and state figure out long-term solutions to the problem, which involves corrosion and other damage caused by polluted Flint River water that was being used to save money.
Lead exposure has been linked to behavior problems and learning disabilities in children.
Flint switched back to getting drinking water from Detroit, which taps into Lake Huron, late last year.
But considerable damage appears to have already been done.
State officials confirmed that doctors were reporting elevated lead levels in children in October, and dozens of cases have been confirmed, the AP said.
Officials also may have to inspect thousands of pipelines that were used to convey the more-corrosive Flint River water into homes.
"We don't want people to assume anything's good until we have a chance to do extensive testing and confirm that publicly," Snyder said.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Interim Director Keith Creagh advised residents not to drink the tapwater until his department gave the go-ahead.
Snyder also said he may ask Michigan's legislature for more money for the emergency before his annual budget proposal in February.
A task force appointed by Snyder faulted the DEQ for not anticipating that the Flint River water had to be treated and for repeatedly rejecting water quality complaints from residents, the AP said.
DEQ Director Dan Wyant resigned last month.
Snyder has declared an emergency for the city of Flint and Genesee County, which have requested state financial assistance.
Michigan, which already pledged $10.6 million to help Flint deal with the problem, may be forced to seek federal help if the costs go much higher, the AP said.
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