Apr 20, 2018, 7:14 PM ET

Judge denies man's request to reinstate free water program in Flint

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A judge has denied a man's request to resume the program that distributed free bottled water to the residents of Flint, Michigan.

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The case involved a Flint man who said his home’s tap water is contaminated with high levels of lead, according to local outlet MLive. But it is also part of a larger view of the water crisis that has impacted residents in Flint for nearly four years.

The argument made April 20 was not convincing enough for U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy, MLive reported. If compelled, Levy could have ordered the state to immediately resume the state-funded bottled water distribution in Flint.

The requests for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction were denied, according to MLive.

PHOTO: Ariana Hawk of Flint, Michigan, leads a chant during a protest on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol on April 11, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan.Brittany Greeson/Getty Images
Ariana Hawk of Flint, Michigan, leads a chant during a protest on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol on April 11, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan.

Resident Allen Bryant Jr. filed the lawsuit seeking the continued distribution of free water. According to the complaint, Bryant’s home registered more than 1,300 parts per billion (ppb) of lead when tested earlier this year, MLive reported. The federal action limit is 15 ppb.

But Bryant is no longer living at the home, and when asked, turned down an opportunity to have a water filtration system added, Levy noted, MLive reported.

The hearing held in downtown Ann Arbor lasted a couple hours, according to MLive.

It came two weeks after the program providing free water stopped.

At one point there were nine free bottled water distribution points in Flint, referred to as “water pods” by residents. There were only four left when the centers were closed earlier this month.

Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said then the state would stop supplying free bottled water to Flint residents because the water quality there had “tested below action levels of the federal Lead and Copper Rule for nearly two years.”

PHOTO: Alongside other protesters, Gladyes Williamson, of Flint, Michigan, delivers a list of demands, including a demand to keep water distribution sites open, to the offices of state representatives on April 11, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan.Brittany Greeson/Getty Images, FILE
Alongside other protesters, Gladyes Williamson, of Flint, Michigan, delivers a list of demands, including a demand to keep water distribution sites open, to the offices of state representatives on April 11, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan.

But resident Arthur Woodson said promises haven’t been kept and people still need help. “It seems like we worse now than when the crisis first started,” he told ABC News.

Resident Juani Olivares told ABC News folks just aren’t ready.

“The children don’t want to touch the faucets, they are traumatized," Olivares said. "We are all traumatized.”

Olivares, who is the president and CEO of the Genesee County Hispanic Latin Collaborative-La Placita, said there’s still a lot of work to do.

High levels of poverty and illiteracy have compounded the issue, in addition to deeply rooted trust issues, according to residents who spoke to ABC News.

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  • FearfUl CaKe fABriC

    “It seems like we worse now than when the crisis first started,” he told ABC News.

    We worse now? Why does a certain subset of the population have so much trouble with verbs?

  • Desirae

    Under the Equal Protection Clause of the fourteenth amendment, the Residents of Flint, Michigan have the right to be protected by the government and its laws. The decision that U.S. District Judge Judith Levy recently made regarding the Flint Water Crisis was irrational and inconsiderate because lead levels in Flint are still dangerously high, reaching over 13, 200 ppb. Denying these American citizens the right to clean water, including water distribution until the pipes in the city are lead free, is killing them and depriving them of their basic civil liberty of access to clean water. The water distribution should be resumed immediately. The residents of this historical city should not have to fix the problems that the government created by supplying themselves with clean water because access to clean water is a human right.

  • Zexufang

    Don't care.
    I do not live in Flint.
    This is a local problem due to incompetent government.

    Hey... you can always move to Detroit.

  • trueblue

    right, a town of very poor black and hispanic citizens and they are just supposed to pick up and move away from the bad water? entitled thinking just can't imagine how impossible that might be.

  • Trexinmichigan

    If you could see the white,cloudy water they have now. You wouldn't drink it either.

  • cooolonetoo

    As soon as I became aware of the levels of lead in the local water, I would have high tailed it out of there. I guess therein lie the difference, or reference as quoted "High levels of poverty and illiteracy have compounded the issue, in addition to deeply rooted trust issues, according to residents who spoke to ABC"...

    The Gov't is not there to help you! They aren't going to save you, protect you, or really, when it comes down to it, help you either! God helps those who help themselves... Get out of there, period! I can't believe people are still there and it isn't a ghost town. Hope they do get out and protect themselves! Lead poisoning is no joke!

  • inonepeice

    What a country.

  • Trexinmichigan

    They say the water is safe but it's cloudy coming out of the tap.
    Would you drink that?

  • thornyrose

    They aren't poisoning pigeons in a park here: they are poisoning babies and their parents,and other citizens. Keep up the good work, citizens. Fight back.

  • ChallyFever

    Plaintiff: "Man these guys need to filter the water better."

    Offer to plaintiff: "Hi sir, we will provide you with a free water filtration system."

    Response from plaintiff: "No! I dont want my water filtered!"

  • ChallyFever

    It bewilders me why the plaintiff turned down a free water filtration system.

  • Kimmy Wasatch

    Finally, a judge with common sense!~ this has been 4 years, what have the residents done to help themselves except have their hands out and expect others to take care of them.

  • 3 Wise Men

    Most folks in that area die of "lead" poisoning anyway.

  • RobertJohns

    Why did Mr. Bryant turn down the offer of a water filtration system?

  • Dennis Lynn

    The reason kids are traumatized is because the adults told them to be. The adults in this country have their kids so tightly wound that they think everyone and everything is out to kill them.

  • whitepine

    How sad.

  • Arryandan

    The Flint water crisis is a perfect example of a governor that should rightfully be imprisoned for poisoning his own voters.

  • helico seek

    Does Flint offer any loans or grants to help people replace plumbing? The water going to the homes is safe, and that is all that the city is responsible for. Old homes may have lead plumbing and that is the homeowner's responsibility. Assistance for poor homeowners would be helpful. Free water forever isn't reasonable.

  • ababg

    All these people have to do is change their service lines. That is where the lead is coming from. 75-100 year old water service lines that were made with lead pipe. A diy job is a few $100. To pay a professional it's a few $1000. These service lines are way past their serviceable life. My house is over a hundred years old. I replaced my copper service line with a plastic one a few years ago. It's absolutely astounding lead pipes are still being used for water service. This has been a known health hazard for more than half a century

  • darkest_star

    thank you Syria for not bombing us when USA kills its own people

  • MICHAEL HILL

    Water?
    We don't need no stinkin' water
    Oh wait......................

  • rightened

    It's worth noting that Governor Rick Snyder was warned in January of this year that the oil pipelines that run under the Mackinac Bridge along the Mackinac Straits--which is the connecting point for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, two of this country's largest freshwater lakes--had to be shut down IMMEDIATELY due to the coating on the pipes corroding.

    He refused to do that.

    In April, 600 gallons spilled into the water, which is a haven for fishing, boating, swimming and a major source of drinking water. Now, 600 might not seem like much, but that's not to say there haven't been other, smaller leaks going on for a longer time. It also doesn't do anything to reduce or eliminate the possibility of future oil leaks from these decaying pipes. And, again, this is our DRINKING WATER we're talking about. Over 40% of freshwater sources in the U.S. are contaminated to the point we can't swim, bathe or drink that water. Does Governor Rick Snyder want to see that for the Great Lakes--or costly clean-ups?

    What about it now, Rick? Care to shut down a system that needs a total replacement, or are you going to pull the "Flint" business on the whole region?