Hundreds rally in Flint demanding safer drinking water

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FLINT (WJRT) - (07/10/15) - Hundreds rallied outside Flint city hall Friday morning demanding safe, affordable drinking water. It was the end of a week long walk from Detroit to Flint.

They say water in southeast and Mid-Michigan is unhealthy and too expensive.

The walk started last Friday in Detroit and finished this Friday in Flint. Dozens left Woodside Church on Court Street at 9:30 a.m. to walk to city hall.

They call it the "water justice journey." They believe local politicians are lying to them about the quality of Flint water and water from the Detroit system.

At city hall, they were met by more supporters. Through a bullhorn, organizers told of their concerns about copper and lead in the water and high water bills. They were angry about water shut off notices.

Roughly 300 people were on the grounds of city hall, holding signs demanding better, more affordable water. Organizer Melissa Mays says she was surprised by the size of the rally.

After the demonstration, several protesters took a bus to Lansing, where they hope to share their concerns with sympathetic politicians.

The official press release is below:

City of Flint Statement on Amended Water Lawsuit

Flint, Michigan – July 10, 2015 – The Coalition for Clean Water has filed a new lawsuit against the City of Flint in which they have abandoned all previous federal claims. In response to the updated complaints, city officials issue the following statements:
"Only one month ago, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit claiming the City violated federal laws. Now they have admitted their claims lacked merit, just as the U.S. District Court said. The plaintiffs’ new claims are equally baseless and devoid of legal merit. The taxpayers of this community can ill afford yet another lawsuit and any assertion that water decisions by the City of Flint were made without the public’s best interest in mind is misleading and damaging to the public trust."
– Pete Bade, City Attorney
"Every step has been taken to ensure the safety of the water. The City has worked closely with authorities to make certain all safety and quality guidelines are followed. Flint’s commitment to providing safe, quality and affordable water has not wavered. The City has taken numerous steps and invested a substantial amount, more than $30 million over 5 years, to improve its water system. These steps have and will include:
• Upgrades to the Water Treatment Plant ahead of water source switch
• Construction of a new intake at the WTP ahead of the KWA connection
• The regular flushing of hydrants
• Exercising and repairing of valves
• Repair of mains damaged during the spring thaw
• The ongoing hydraulic modeling of the distribution system
• Creation of both a citizens’ and a technical advisory committee in order to share information with the community
• In-home water testing to monitor distribution system
• On-site testing for TTHM at the Water Treatment Plant
• Approval of a leak detection system set to begin in August
• The creation of a dedicated water webpage, complete with documents and timeline of events, to share this information with the public
In addition, the new granulated activated carbon (GAC) filters are being installed at Flint’s Water Treatment Plant. The first round of filters will be installed by mid-July and will have an immediate impact greatly reducing the amount of total organic compound (TOC) and thus reducing the formation of trihalomethanes. These filters, along with the others proactive measures being undertaken to address issues in the system, were the concurrent recommendation of the various parties who evaluated Flint’s treatment operation.
– Howard Croft, DPW Director

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