FLINT TWP. — Bottles of water and cash donations poured into Genesee Valley Center shopping mall last Friday for a community Bottled Water Drive to supply drinking water for students in Flint Community Schools.
Flint Superintendent Bilal Tawwab requested help after tests showed high levels of lead in Flint municipal water, making it unsafe to drink.
“The drive was incredible! We collected over 210,000 bottles of water,” said Kristen Cassabon, mall marketing director.
Rock Bottom Stone Supply of Burton provided 2 semis to transport the water to Flint Schools, she said.
Genesee Valley conducted the drive in partnership with View Newspapers, Townsquare Media and TV5.
Business contributions also were made by Barnes & Noble, Bishop Design & Display, C&L Ward, Culligan of Flint, Envy Modular Wall Systems, Halo Burger, Kelly Anne Smith- Keller Williams, Kerning Advertising, Optimist International, Suburban Office & Janitorial Supplies, Subway and Universal Protection Services.
Cassabon said that cash donations would be used to buy additional cases of water for delivery to the schools.
Flint’s water crisis stems from city officials switching back to the Flint River as its water source in April 2014, ending a long-term agreement with Detroit as its water supplier. The switch anticipated connecting to the Karegnondi water pipeline from Lake Huron now under construction and targeted for completion by June 2016.
The water crisis peaked on September 25 when Hurley Medical Center doctors issued an alarming report of blood analyses of Flint children that indicated lead overexposure.
In response, on October 1, the Genesee County Board of Commissioners issued a Public Emergency Declaration and advisory to stop drinking water from the Flint River system.
Efforts began to issue lead filters to Flint water users. On October 8, Governor Rick Snyder announced a $12 million plan to reconnect Flint to the Great Lakes Water Authority (Detroit) as the source of its drinking water until the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline is completed, Costs are expected to be covered by $6 million from the state, a $4 million grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and $2 million from the City of Flint.
It is expected to take about two weeks to restore Flint’s connection with Detroit water.
Water filters will continue to be supplied and water testing is ongoing.