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Flint's Highest Water Rate in US Buys Residents Lead Poisoning

Image: Flint's Highest Water Rate in US Buys Residents Lead Poisoning
(Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 17 Feb 2016 12:47 PM

Residents of Flint, Michigan, paid the nation’s highest water rates for water that was contaminated with lead, according to a report released Tuesday by Food & Water Watch.

The report, which surveyed the 500 largest water systems in the nation, said that as of January 2015, Flint residents paid an annual rate of $864.32 for 60,000 gallons of water. The next-highest rate was $855.25 in Bellevue, Washington.

Phoenix residents paid the least for water, $84.24 for 60,000 gallons. On average, public water sources charged $316.20, and private, for-profit services charged $500.96, the report said.

Flint’s water rate "far exceeds what the United Nations designates as affordable for water and sewer service. The United Nations recommends that water and sewer service shouldn't exceed 3 percent of a household income. In Flint, the charges totaled about 7 percent,” said Mary Grant, one of the study's authors, according to the Detroit Free Press.

In August, a judge ordered Flint to reduce its rates by 35 percent and eliminate fees.

Income from water and sewer services has been funneled into general operations and used for other purposes, the Free Press reported. In 2014, the city switched its water service from Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River, but didn’t add corrosion controls to the river water. The city has been grappling with a crisis because lead has leached out of pipes and poisoned residents.

The crisis has become a political scandal and gained widespread attention, with Gov. Rick Snyder called to testify before a U.S. congressional committee next month, Reuters reported.

Twitter users expressed outrage.


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Residents of Flint, Michigan, paid the nation’s highest water rates for water that was contaminated with lead, according to a report released Tuesday.
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2016-47-17
Wednesday, 17 Feb 2016 12:47 PM
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