Michigan Governor to drink filtered Flint water for 30 days

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. © Reuters
In response to a reporter’s challenge and demands from citizens, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has vowed to drink filtered Flint water for at least 30 days in an attempt to “alleviate some of the skepticism” left by the city’s lead contamination crisis.

The challenge was announced on Monday as Governor Snyder visited a Flint resident who lives with lead service lines that tested higher than the federal action level for lead, which is 15 parts per billion, unfiltered, reported the Detroit News.

The homeowner uses a filter, but was concerned about whether her water was safe to drink. Snyder left her home with three gallons of filtered water. Filters can handle lead levels under 150 parts per billion.

“I completely understand why some Flint residents are hesitant to drink the water and I am hopeful I can alleviate some of the skepticism and mistrust by putting words to action,” Snyder said in a statement. “Flint residents made it clear that they would like to see me personally drink the water, so today I am fulfilling that request. And I will continue drinking Flint water at work and at home for at least 30 days.”

The governor plans to refill his water supply from Flint each week when he is in the city, according to the governor’s office.

Federal, state and independent water quality experts say the water quality in Flint is improving and safe to drink as long as a filter is used, the governor’s office said. Michigan officials are collecting data on lead contamination from roughly 600 sites in Flint.

Particulate lead, small scales that flake off from damaged underground pipes, is an ongoing concern and the system remains “unstable,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Flint’s nearly 100,000 residents have been under a three-month state of emergency.

Residents have been urged to use faucet filters or bottled water until damaged pipes can be effectively recoated with anti-corrosion chemicals. No chemical treatment for corrosion was used when the state’s financial management ordered Flint to switch its water sources to a local river in 2014, resulting in lead contaminating the city’s water. Hundreds of children were left with elevated blood lead levels, a known cause for disabilities and other health problems.

A March poll found that 75 percent of voters thought Snyder hadn’t handled the situation in Flint well, and 41 percent believed he should resign – up from 29 percent in January.