LANSING (WJRT) (4/25/2018) - Dozens of Flint residents spent the fourth anniversary of the water switch that eventually led to the Flint water crisis rallying in Lansing.
Former Mayor Dayne Walling flipped a switch on this date in 2014 to begin drawing Flint River water into the city's water treatment plant. That water wasn't properly treated, causing elevated lead levels and a host of health implications.
Four years later, Flint residents say the crisis is far from over. They took their fight to Lansing for continued state-funded bottled water and support to completely rectify the problems unleashed by the crisis.
"There seems to be no end. It's a continuous battle and we need more answers," said Flint resident Jill Robinson. "Why? Why is this taking so long for this to be fixed? Why are we just, I'm not, I'm saying say the importance of the lead, but what about the importance of the harmful bacteria, the heavy metals? There are many, many questions that we can't get answered."
The Flint residents in Lansing particularly voiced their frustration with Gov. Rick Snyder, who recently shut down bottled water distribution centers.
State Rep. Sheldon Neeley, a Democrat from Flint, said the state government still hasn't rebuilt the trust of residents affected by the water crisis.
"They have to provide the dollars and cents to protect those individuals that's the most vulnerable and then work back to making sure that we build trust," he said. "But by pulling the water PODs out of the city of Flint does nothing to build trust. It talks about that callous heart of an individual that is still in control right now."
Neeley called for the Snyder administration to reopen the water distribution centers and continue supporting residents.
Snyder has said the decision to cut off the bottled water supply was reached with "thorough and extensive scientific data." He pointed out Flint's water has tested well-below the federal action level for lead for nearly two years.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver issued a statement Wednesday, saying the city's issues go deeper than just a need for more bottled water.
She pointed out residents' water heaters and plumbing systems were damaged by the overly corrosive Flint River water, but there are no government programs available to fix them.
"I understand why residents are upset. Because we are still dealing with this problem, and the leaders who made the decisions that got us here have basically walked away,” Weaver said.
However, she highlighted the progress made over the past four years, including a return to the Great Lakes Water Authority as the city's long-term water supplier and 6,300 residences receiving new water service lines.