FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A federal emergency declaration over Flint’s lead-tainted water crisis ended Sunday, but state officials said work continues to fix the drinking water system and provide services to city residents.
The end to the declaration means the state now bears the full cost of bottled water, filters and other water supplies. Federal resources, health programs and monitoring efforts will continue.
President Barack Obama in January signed the emergency declaration as Flint’s crisis came to a head, after tests showed elevated levels of lead in the blood of some children.
On Thursday, Virginia Tech researchers who exposed the lead problem gave an upbeat assessment of the city’s water quality. Still, environmental engineering expert Marc Edwards urged residents to drink only filtered tap water or bottled water while the system heals.
State officials say community water resource sites where residents can get bottled water, water filters, replacement cartridges and at-home water testing kits remain open in all nine city wards.
“Until the water meets quality standards, we will provide water supplies to Flint water system customers at the water resource sites,” said state police Capt. Chris Kelenske, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
Under the presidential declaration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been providing water resource assistance under a 75 percent federal and 25 percent state cost-sharing agreement.
Officials say that aside from the state of Michigan taking on additional costs, Flint residents will not notice any loss of water emergency services. All other federal and state programs and services supporting the Flint response will continue.
Since Jan. 9, more than 2.2 million cases of bottled water; more than 130,200 water filters; more than 287,000 replacement cartridges; and more than 52,600 at-home water testing kits have been distributed to Flint water system customers.