April 6, 2018 / 8:56 PM / 3 months ago

Michigan to end free bottled water for Flint, saying water crisis over

April 6 (Reuters) - The state of Michigan will no longer supply free bottled water to Flint, the city that was plagued with lead-tainted drinking water in a crisis that drew national attention, officials said on Friday.

For nearly two years, tests have shown that Flint’s water is the same or better than similar cities across the state, a statement from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s office said. When the current supply of state-funded bottled water is depleted, the four remaining distribution centers will close and deliveries will end.

“The scientific data now proves the water system is stable and the need for bottled water has ended,” Snyder said in the statement. “Since Flint’s water is now well within the standards set by the federal government, we will now focus even more of our efforts on continuing with the health, education and economic development assistance needed to help move Flint forward.”

Officials from Flint, a predominantly black city of nearly 97,400 residents, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Flint regained control of its finances on Wednesday after Michigan announced the end of nearly seven years of state oversight, a period marked by the water crisis.

Flint switched its public water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River in a cost-cutting move in April 2014. The polluted river water caused lead to leach from pipes. Lead poisoning stunts children’s cognitive development.

The city switched back to Lake Huron water in October 2015. The water crisis prompted dozens of lawsuits and criminal charges against former government officials. (Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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