State spending on bottled water in Flint averaging $22,000 a day
FLINT, MI — The state is getting an expensive daily reminder of the cost of the Flint water crisis more than two years after acknowledging it — a bill that amounts to more than $22,000 every 24 hours.
Records from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality detail the latest spending, one of the state supports to the city that’s expected to be reviewed starting this month following a third round of water testing in buildings operated by Flint Community Schools.
Although the state ended its own water distribution program in Flint in September, it’s continued to pay the cost of water that the city is now in charge of delivering through the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
"I have been, and still am, a proponent of bottled water being provided to residents until all lead-tainted service lines leading to homes in Flint have been replaced," Weaver said in a statement to MLive-The Flint Journal.
So far this year, bottled water costs have inched up at an even quicker pace — an average of $668,719 monthly.
Local, state and federal officials are also conferring weekly on water quality issues other than lead, monitoring pH, phosphate and chlorine levels from samples taken at dozens of monitoring sites around the city.
"We are glad the water quality in Flint is improving," Weaver said in a statement issued by the city.
Gaskin said he believes part of the reason for continued bottled water demand is that some residents are hoarding water in anticipation of an end to the state supply.
MLive-The Flint Journal could not immediately reach Mayor Karen Weaver for comment on issues related to state funding for bottled water but she said earlier this month that the state should continue to supply bottled water to the city until all lead and galvanized service lines have been replaced — something that might not be accomplished until 2019.
The bottled water being purchased this year comes through a $16.7-million contract between the state and Absopure Water Company.