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State distributing less bottled water in Flint

Feb 21, 2016

Last month, the state started distributing bottled water, filters and lead testing kits at fire stations in Flint.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A top state official says people in Flint are relying more and more on water filters. He says that is reducing demand for bottled water.

In response to Flint’s water crisis, six weeks ago the state started stocking distribution centers in Flint with bottled water, filters and lead testing kits.  

But demand at the centers is down significantly. For example, demand for bottled water is now less than a third of its peak. 

Michigan State Police Capt. Chris Kelenske heads up the state’s emergency response. He suspects the declining demand for bottled water is due to people’s rising confidence in the water filters.

“People are getting the filters. They’re getting them hooked up. And they don’t need as much bottled water,” says Kelenske.

Recent tests have shown lead levels in the drinking water of some Flint homes exceed the 150 parts per billion certification of the filters being distributed by the state. The EPA says the filters are still effective even in those homes.  

The lower demand has state officials looking at whether a change is needed to the distribution model to better serve Flint’s needs.