Flint water crisis: American city still charging residents up to $200 a month for contaminated 'toxic waste' water

Water is so contaminated with lead that the US Environmental Protection Agency branded it 'toxic waste'

John Hall
Tuesday 19 January 2016 10:59
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Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant Steve Kiger of Beaverton, Michigan, helps a Flint, Michigan resident take bottled water out to his car
Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant Steve Kiger of Beaverton, Michigan, helps a Flint, Michigan resident take bottled water out to his car

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”.

Volunteers help unload pallets of bottled water at a Flint Fire Station

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.

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.

Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant William Phillips helps unload pallets of bottled water at a Flint Fire Station

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.

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