Flint water crisis: City to get $28 million in state aid

Story highlights

  • Measure passed legislature unanimously
  • Governor: "We will fix this crisis"
  • Crisis began with switch of water sources in 2014

(CNN)Michigan's Legislature pushed through $28 million in funding Thursday to aid residents of Flint with recovery efforts, money that will be used to help children with high levels of lead in their blood, the governor's office said.

CNN affiliate WJRT in Flint reported almost $4 million will be used to treat children affected by lead in the city's water.
The remainder of the money will go toward unpaid water bills, a study of the city's water system infrastructure, pay for nine more school nurses, for supplies and other needs.
    WJRT reported with so many donations of bottled water and filters coming in, some of the money was shifted to different projects.
    The bills passed unanimously in each legislative body.
    Gov. Rick Snyder tweeted his appreciation.
    "Thank you to the Michigan Senate for taking action & for their unanimous support for the people of Flint. We will fix the crisis in Flint," his office wrote.

    Crisis began in 2014

    About two years ago, while in charge of the city's budget amid a financial emergency, the state decided to temporarily switch Flint's water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money until a new supply line to Lake Huron was ready. The river had a reputation for nastiness, and after the April 2014 switch, residents complained their water looked, smelled and tasted funny.
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    Virginia Tech researchers found the water was highly corrosive. A class-action lawsuit alleges the state Department of Environmental Quality didn't treat the water for corrosion, in accordance with federal law, and because so many service lines to Flint are made of lead, the noxious element leached into the water of the city's homes.
    Last week, the feds said both the city and state were to blame.

    Other aid

    President Barack Obama announced a week ago that $80 million in new funding would be available to Michigan to help the state improve its water infrastructure.
    The U.S. Senate is considering an emergency funding bill.
    State Attorney General Bill Schuette said he is appointing an ex-prosecutor and Detroit's former FBI chief to join the investigation into Flint's water crisis.
    Schuette said in a statement that in appointing ex-FBI chief Andrew Arena and naming former Wayne County assistant prosecutor Todd Flood as special counsel, he is creating "an ethics-based conflict wall between him and his investigation team, and the team defending the governor and state departments against Flint water-related lawsuits."
    Schuette's office will supervise any lawsuits against the state and the governor.