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The Flint River is cleaner than many think

Apr 25, 2017

When it comes to the Flint water crisis, there has been plenty of blame to go around.

In addition to the human errors and incompetence from the likes of the Snyder administration, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the EPA, and a series of unelected emergency managers, many have pointed fingers at another culprit: the Flint River itself.

When Stateside took the show on the road on April 22, a guest took exception to blaming the river. Rebecca Fedewa, the executive director of the Flint River Watershed Coalition and the vice-chair of the Flint River Corridor Alliance.

"We have a river that has suffered from a bad reputation for many, many years anyway," Fedewa said. "And when this crisis hit, we saw a whole lot of blame at the local, state and national level and in the press and the experts saying that we have this toxic river and it was such a folly of a decision to make that switch to using the Flint River [as a water source].

"But we know with the data that we [have collected] over the years that we have a fantastic river system. [The Flint River is] fully supporting of all aquatic life and we were confident that the river could serve as a quality drinking water source."

"But we know with the data that we [have collected] over the years that we have a fantastic river system," Fedewa added. "It's fully supporting of all aquatic life and we were confident that the river could serve as a quality drinking water source."

According to Fedewa, the water crisis was not caused by the water from the Flint River, it was the fact the water wasn't treated properly.  

The Flint River has had a bad reputation over the years largely due to industrial pollution, which Fedewa said was largely taken care of thanks to the Clean Water Act. What many people see of the river is the stretch of it that runs near downtown Flint, which she admits is "not attractive." But she pointed out that there's more than 140 other miles of the Flint River that many people don't see.

"You don't have to go up north for that wonderful river experience," Fedewa said.

Listen to the full interview to hear more about the Flint Riverfront Restoration Plan and the dredging project that are both in the works, as well as the many recreational opportunities that the Flint River offers.

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Thanks to Kimon Kotos and Ann Bratsburg from Digital Spectrum Enterprises in Muskegon for videotaping the live show.

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