Audit faults Michigan regulators in Flint water crisis

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Flint used to buy Lake Huron water through the city of Detroit but the state ordered the source changed to water from Flint River.

The ripple effects of the city of Flint’s tainted drinking water crisis could eventually prompt water suppliers to spend more than a quarter-trillion dollars on infrastructure upgrades faster than anticipated, a leading rating agency said Friday. But relatively few — 21 percent — say they’re paying close attention to news about the situation in Flint; 38 percent say they’re following somewhat closely and 38 percent aren’t following closely.
The DEQ says some of them have already been put in place.

Privately the Utah Republican has relied on three reasons to justify his opposition to the legislation, all of which are procedural or philosophical.
While utility companies are now focused on evaluating their existing treatment methods and educational outreach, the U.S. watchdog might be forced to mandate an overhaul of the water supply system, because of endless legal battles filed against Flint, MI and Chicago, IL.
The report by the state auditor general found that staffers in the Department of Environmental Quality’s drinking water office failed to order the city to treat its water with anti-corrosion chemicals as it switched to the Flint River in April 2014, but also said the rules they failed to heed may not be strong enough to protect the public.
The Utah senator’s objections may not play well at home, where he is running for reelection this year.
Sophia Tesfaye is the Deputy Politics Editor at Salon.
Supporters said the bill would use federal credit subsidies to provide incentives for up to $700 million in loan guarantees and other financing for water infrastructure projects across the country. It also prohibited the city from reducing water and sewer rates unless authorized by the state.
The majority of Americans are concerned about the safety of drinking water coming from their tap.
She called on Congress to pass a $200 million bill to help replace Flint’s infrastructure.
The audit was released on the day that the City of Flint began its own effort to replace lead pipes in its water system and on the day that a delegation from Congress came for a visit to the beleaguered eastern MI town.
Before 1950, most pipes carrying water from the main lines to homes and businesses were made of lead, rather than copper, and cities do not always know which have been replaced, reported John Wisely and Todd Spangler for the Detroit Free Press.
“We didn’t connect all the dots that I wish we would have”, Snyder said last week, adding that when his aides checked with environmental and health experts in state agencies about concerns, they continually reaffirmed “there was no problem”. Kildee criticized Lee and other Senate Republicans for delaying the bill and noted that dozens of lawmakers have visited Flint in recent weeks – all Democrats.
“All of a sudden it just hit me that someone four hours from where I was sitting wasn’t able to do that”, she said.