Despite being several months into a contaminated water crisis that US president Barack Obama has declared a federal state of emergency, the city of Flint, Michigan is still charging residents up to $200 a month for their supply, it has been claimed.
Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stands accused of ignoring months of concerning reports on the amount of lead in Flint’s drinking water, with the brown liquid reportedly making residents’ hair fall out and causing rashes on their skin.
10 people have also died from the pneumonia-like condition Legionnaire's disease.
When tested by a team from Virginia Tech, the water was so contaminated with lead that the US Environmental Protection Agency branded it “toxic waste”.
With charity drives and water appeals in place to provide Flint residents with enough water to live on, Obama declared a state of emergency on Saturday - automatically releasing $5 million in federal aid to assist with the public health crisis.
Despite the ongoing crisis, an investigation by Mic has revealed that locals are still be charged hundreds of dollars to receive the contaminated water.
In pictures: Flint water crisis
In pictures: Flint water crisis
Anthony Fordham picks up bottled water from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to deliver to a school after elevated lead levels were found in the city's water in Flint
Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant William Phillips (L) assists a Flint resident with bottled water at a fire station in Flint
Flint residents Arthur Woodson, left, and Tony Palladino Jr. protest the arrival of Flint native and filmmaker Michael Moore as Moore accuses Gov.Rick Snyder of poisoning Flint water during a rally outside of city hall in Flint
Flint residents pick up bottled water and water filters at a fire station in Flint. Michigan National Guard members were set to arrive in Flint to join door-to-door efforts to distribute bottled water and other supplies to residents coping with the city's crisis over lead-contaminated drinking water
Soldiers from the Michigan Army National Guard Flint prepare to give Flint residents bottled water at a fire station in Flint
Justin Roberson (L), age 6, of Flint, Michigan and Mychal Adams, age 1, of Flint wait on a stack of bottled water at a rally where the Rev. Jesse Jackson was speaking about about the water crises at the Heavenly Host Baptist Church in Flint
A man sits next to a stack of bottled water at the Heavenly Host Baptist Church in Flint
2016 Getty Images
The top of a water tower is seen at the Flint Water Plant. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Michigan and ordered federal aid to be used to help state and local response efforts to an area affected by contaminated water
Rosie Wright, center, rallies with the crowd over Flint's water crisis in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Rick Catherman participates in a rally around Flint's water crisis in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Long-term resident Tyrone Wooten told the news website: “I noticed the middle of July 2014 we were getting $150 water bills.
“We've been paying for it for so long…Sometimes it's like, 'Don't flush the toilets sometimes’ we don't know how much that costs,” he added.
Wooten told the news website that his typical water bill is between $125 and $150 a month. Others questioned said their water bills were lower than this, while some families said they pay up $200.
In most cases the residents wouldn’t dream of drinking the water, using it only for washing and flushing the toilet.
“This s*** is criminal… [Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder] deserves to go to prison for this,” local resident Kendrick Boyd was quoted as saying.
“They gave [ex-Detroit mayor] Kwame Kilpatrick 28 years for stealing money. This man just endangered lives. People die from this,” he added.Reuse content