A federal judge has ordered state and local governments to provide home delivery of bottled water to the residents of Flint, Mich., as they continue to navigate a years-long crisis over lead-laced water.
U.S. District Judge David Lawson said in his order that the city and state must provide at least four cases of water per resident every week, unless the officials verify the household has a water filter installed that is properly maintained or the residents opt out.
Flint is in the process of repairing its water system after the city switched to a new water source in 2014 without implementing proper corrosion controls. The untreated water corroded the pipes, causing lead to leach out of the pipes. For months, officials have been handing out water filters and distributing bottled water at points throughout the city.
But on Thursday, the judge said that’s not enough. The water filters do bring the lead levels below the EPA’s action levels, he said, but the distribution and monitoring efforts have been “uneven at best.” There’s no guarantee the filters are “properly installed and maintained,” Lawson wrote.