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Audit: State not following regulations on bottled water

Jan 18, 2017

A Michigan department needs to do more to follow its own regulations on bottled water inspection.

That was the message of an audit released today by the Office of the Auditor General. The report found that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development did not always perform timely inspections of water bottles and places with water dispensing machines.

Jennifer Holton is with the agriculture department. She says they are already taking steps to fix the problem as the department gets more resources.

“We identified this as a possible issue back in 2013, and have been working steadfastly in inspection frequencies, to make improvements, as part of a multi-year phase-in,” she said.

While the department has not broken any laws, it has failed to meet the standards its office set.

Liz Kirkwood is with the Great Lakes water law and policy center, For Love of Water. She says with bottled water sales now outnumbering soda, this is an important issue to keep an eye on.

“This issue of bottled water is very complex,” she said. “Because we are seeing increasing stories across the country beyond Flint where the public is concerned about the safety of municipal water.”

 

The Michigan agriculture department says they are already in the process of making improvements and meeting the standards they have set.