On Thursday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said that his administration will put into action the country’s toughest lead limit for water, obviously after the crisis of the water contamination in Flint.
Snyder said that he will gradually lower the state’s “action level” for lead in drinking water. Currently Michigan’s limit is 15 parts per billion, which is the federal limit; Snyder wants to lower the limit to 10 parts per billion by the year 2020. He has also said that the change does not require any legislative approval.
Apologetic about his administration’s role in the water crisis that has plagued the area for far too long—exposing children to toxic lead—he comments, “We need a Michigan rule that is smart and safe. We are taking action to provide safe and reliable drinking water infrastructure that will protect the health and well-being of all Michiganders.”
Under rules from the US Environmental Protection Agency, water systems throughout the country must take new accords to control corrosion if lead concentration (from pipes) read higher than 15 parts per billion in more than 10 percent of customer taps.
While Michigan state has already allocated more than $250 million toward this public health emergency, it has not been so quick to enact major policy reform. Perhaps another $100 million from the Federal Government will help. Indeed, Congress has approved that much emergency funding for residents of Flint, MI to aid in the state’s recovery efforts. At least $51 million will go towards immediate relief efforts. Another $68.5 million comes from a federal pot of funds which could be released following a public comment and technical review.
The day before this announcement (Wednesday), Genesee County approved a new plan to allow for the drawing and treating of water from a new pipeline from Lake Huron while Flint continues to buy pre-treated water from the Detroit System. Also, the county board also gave the green light on a 7-mile connection with the new Karegnondi Water Authority, over the rest of this year.
City Officials in Flint estimate that the city will not be the city will not be fully prepared to start treating raw water itself prior to 2019.