LANSING – A contaminated drinking water crisis continues in Flint, less than 60 miles from Michigan’s capital city, and it has led to an unprecedented need for help.The situation has been so dire in the Flint Community Schools that only bottled water is used in school buildings for drinking and cooking meals.
Drinking fountains remain shut off, and it’s unclear when they’ll be turned on. Schools, homes, warming centers, soup kitchens and churches are just some places that need clean bottled water or cash donations to purchase water.”When you’re living it, you kind of get used to it,” said Mike Loll, a school district maintenance supervisor, when asked about being limited to bottled water. “Some people just hearing about this are kind of panicking.”
Bottled water is at such a premium in Flint because of lead problems in the city’s water distribution system. Flint began using water from the Flint River while under a state-appointed emergency manager, leading to a spike in lead levels among Flint children. Lead can cause irreversible brain damage and has been linked to behavioral problems.
The state helped Flint switch to Lake Huron water in October, but controversy and health concerns remain, as does damage that the corrosive river water caused in the community’s water distribution system. In addition to the need for bottled water, civic leaders in Flint expect long-term needs related to assisting young victims of lead poisoning.
For a list of agencies trying to help: Here’s how to help Flint during its water crisis, state of emergency