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Flint Residents To Get Lower Water Bills

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 26/02/2016 Arthur Delaney
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Residents of Flint, Michigan, will get refunds on their water bills as repayment for the government's failure to keep the water safe, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) announced Friday

"Flint residents should not have to pay for water they cannot drink," Snyder said in a release.

The water won't be free, however -- just less expensive. 

Flint's water turned brown and gross shortly after the city switched its water supply to the Flint River in April 2014, but Snyder's administration insisted it was fine until last fall -- when it admitted some Flint kids had been poisoned by high levels of lead in the water. 

Flint switched back to the Detroit water system in October, but residents are still relying on bottled water for drinking and cooking because their taps remain unsafe. 

All along, Flint residents have been paying the highest water bills in the nation, according to a survey by an environmental nonprofit called Food & Water Watch. Nationally, the average annual bill was $316 in January 2015, compared with $864 for Flint. 

The relief Snyder announced Friday is the result of a $30 million piece of legislation passed earlier by the Michigan legislature. Rather than refunds for past payments, residents will get credits on water bills going forward, until the total credit received equals the amount paid for water usage since April 2014. 

Since Flint water bills are divided between consumption and sewer usage, residents will still have to pay the sewer half. The release from Snyder's office says the credits will only apply until regulators deem the water safe to drink again, which could be a matter of weeks or months. 

"Making the water that comes out of the tap in Flint safe to drink again is the top priority," Snyder said.

HuffPost readers: Do you live in Flint? Tell us about your water and you water bills -- email arthur@huffingtonpost.com. Please include your phone number if you're willing to be interviewed.

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