State legislature, Governor sign off on Flint's Water Fix Bill

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LANSING (WJRT) - (10/15/15) - Paying for Flint's return to the Detroit Water System is no longer an unknown.

The legislature answered the Governor's call in approving a multi-million dollar bill. Governor Rick Snyder signed the measure late Thursday afternoon.

The total cost of making the switch is $12 million. The state has agreed to pay for $6 million. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is chipping in $4 million and the city of Flint will pay for the remaining $2 million.

The Michigan House and Senate also approved an additional $3.3 million for filters, testing and staff to conduct lead monitoring.

Snyder urged the bill's passage last week during a visit to Flint.

"I can't thank my colleagues enough on both sides of the aisle for understanding that this is a public health crisis," said State Senator Jim Ananich- (D) Flint.

Ananich said even with the state pitching in to cover half of the $12 million price tag, he's not done asking questions. He's calling for an investigation into Flint's water emergency.

"You can't fix something unless you take responsibility for the mistakes that were made," Ananich said. "And you make sure cautions are put in place so that it never ever happens again."

Representative Phil Phelps, (D) Flushing, voiced similar praise.

"Sometimes things move very slowly in the state legislature and this turned around very fast," Phelps said.

Phelps is also on the hunt for documents from the city and state.

"To show exactly what they knew about the water - the safety and the quality of it before we made the switch," Phelps said.

So far, his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have been denied, but he's filing appeals. Phelps said he's willing to go to court.

"The city can't afford court (and) neither can the state really," Phelps said. "So I'd rather just stay out of the court system if we can."

Some of the additional $3.3. million approved by the legislature will go toward medical testing of children who were exposed to lead.

State Senator Sheldon Neeley, (D) Flint, wants that option available to all city residents whether they have insurance or not.

"When this was through no fault of their own - the state should step up immediately and look at remedies to try and figure out ways to get these people tested and find out if we need to find treatment for these families," Neeley said.

Work has already begun on the reconnection to the Detroit Water System.

Water from Lake Huron should be flowing into homes and businesses by early November.

The switch is a temporary fix until the city is connected to the KWA pipeline, which is set for summer of 2016.

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