Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

These are worth the highest rates in the nation? (Photo: FlintWaterStudy.org)

These are worth the highest rates in the nation? (Photo: FlintWaterStudy.org)

Flint Residents Told Their Poisoned Water Might Soon Cost Them Twice as Much

The lead-poisoned city's rates are already among the highest in the nation

Deirdre Fulton

Michigan state officials announced Thursday that Flint residents will not be charged for their water usage in May as part of an effort to help flush the system, but the long-term picture for the lead-poisoned city is far less rosy, according to a new report. 

In fact, the Michigan Department of Treasury analysis presented Friday shows that water rates in Flint, already among the highest in the nation, could double within five years unless changes are made to the crumbling water system.

The Detroit News reports:

The typical Flint resident is currently charged about $53.84 per month on the water portion of their bill, not counting sewer costs, according to the report prepared by Raftelis Financial Consultants of Missouri.

But current residential rates are not projected to cover future costs, assuming the city purchases Lake Huron water from Detroit through fiscal year 2017 before transitioning to the [Karegnondi Water Authority] pipeline in 2018.

As a result, the typical water portion of a residential bill is estimated to rise to $110.11 per month by fiscal year 2022 "if no action is taken" to address various issues, according to the report.

Local NBC affliate WEYI added:

Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri explained there are several reasons for this high cost, ranging from the cost of purchasing the water, to the system being too large for a shrinking city population, to the loss of water from the system that never even reaches the customers.

As NBC25/FOX66 News has reported previously, anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the water in the Flint system is lost through leaking and broken pipes. At the time, officials said a typical city only loses 1 to 2 percent of their water in this way.

The response on social media was a mix of incredulity and dismay, as observers processed what one reporter characterized as "more bad news for Flint."

Earlier this year, a Food & Water Watch report showed that Flint's water was the most expensive among 500 systems surveyed nationwide.

"It's completely insane for people to be paying so much who are getting frankly so little," said Ben Jealous, former president and CEO of the NAACP, at the time.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Supreme Court Denies Trump Bid to Conceal Records From Jan. 6 Panel

One government watchdog group welcomed the decision as "a huge win for transparency."

Jessica Corbett ·


Jayapal, Lee Resolution Promotes More Peaceful US Foreign Policy

"It's far past time we take our foreign policy into the 21st century," said Rep. Barbara Lee. "We should be leading with diplomacy and human needs as the path to global security."

Brett Wilkins ·


Anti-War Veterans Group Issues Its Own 'Nuclear Posture Review'

Released ahead of a Biden administration report, the assessment warns that the danger of nuclear war is greater than ever.

Jessica Corbett ·


Critics Warn Puerto Rico Debt Plan Will Lead to More Austerity

"The island's ability to resume growth and avoid cuts in anti-poverty programs are both chief concerns," said one economic justice advocate.

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders, Rights Groups to Biden: End Immigration Detention

"People are losing their lives to a detention system that simply does not need to exist," said one immigrant rights advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo