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Flint And Newark Water Updates 9/18/19

State cuts off free attorneys for employees questioned by Flint water prosecutors

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a 2019 press conference in this file photo. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)

Cory Morse | MLive.com

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a 2019 press conference in this file photo. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)

FLINT, MI — The state is no longer providing attorneys to employees who are questioned by Flint water prosecutors, a practice that cost taxpayers millions of dollars during the administration of former Gov. Rick Snyder.

Spokeswomen for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed the change in policy in response to questions from MLive-The Flint Journal, but the Governor’s Office said it is looking for another way to provide help to employees who could be in legal jeopardy and need an attorney’s advice.

Nessel’s office made the determination that it is not within the state’s authority to provide attorneys to employees unless they have been charged with a crime.

“Governor Whitmer recognizes that state employees need access to representation due to the ongoing Flint water investigation, and she is exploring options and making efforts to ensure that state employees have access to legal counsel going forward,” Tiffany Brown, press secretary for the governor, said in statement to The Journal.

Newark’s mayor plans town hall to address water crisis

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka will host a town hall for residents to discuss the latest updates on the city’s lead water crisis, including the $132 million plan to replace 18,000 old lead pipes pumping water to homes.

The “state of water” town hall will take place Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and include a panel of speakers who have not yet been announced.

About 14,000 Newark households have relied on bottled water for more than a month after samples at three homes questioned the effectiveness of nationally-certified filters to remove lead from the drinking supply. City and state officials, together with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have been sampling an additional 225 homes but it’s unclear when results will be made public.

Baraka told News12 last Friday that additional testing had “wrapped up” and that results could be released as soon as this week. A city spokeswoman said she had no additional information Tuesday.

The EPA, which asked the city to begin distributing bottled water last month, told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday that testing was continuing.

“The sampling and analyses are ongoing, and the results will be made available after the analyses are completed,” a spokesman said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection did not respond to questions regarding the status of sampling on Tuesday.

Boil water advisory issued for Flint after water main break

Boil water advisory issued for Flint after water main break (courtesy of Mk2010)

FLINT, Mich. – A drinking water warning has been issued for Flint due to a loss in pressure in the City of Flint water supply.

Bacterial contamination may have occurred in the water system.

Residents are urged to boil all filtered water before use.

A 6″ water main broke on 9/17/19 at Briar Hill between Westwood Parkway and Parkside Drive resulting in a loss in pressure and leaving many residents without water.

Crews are currently working to resolve the situation.

Customers will be advised when the boil water advisory has been lifted.

For more information contact The City of Flint Water Department at (810) 766-7202.

Newark lead water crisis: City to break ground on $120M pipe replacement project

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) — In response to a water contamination crisis that’s crippled the city for years, Newark is breaking ground on an ambitious $120 million project that will replace thousands of old lead pipes.

The city approved a multi-million dollar bond last month that will accelerate the process of removing all 18,000 lead service line in Newark at no cost to homeowners.

The original timeline called for fixing the issue in eight years, while the new timeline calls for the pipes to be replaced over a period of 24 to 30 months.

Officials announced in 2018 that lead contamination in the city’s drinking water presented a serious public health concern and bandaged the problem by distributing water filters to thousands of homes.

Yet in the summer of 2019, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced water filters may not be working as effectively as anticipated, and the problem escalated when bottled water for Newark residents was found to be past its “best by” date.

TIMELINE: How Newark’s water lead contamination crisis unfolded

Anyone who has questions or concerns can call the lead water hotline at 866-448-2432.

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