By Katie Mettler-LubyPublished May 29, 2019 10:03AMThe Flint Water Plant in Flint, Michigan, is closing on May 29 after a $5.3 million fire that started last month caused water to seep into a pipe and lead to a deadly lead poisoning crisis that has killed more than 300 people.
The fire started at a storage facility where the plant used lead pipes.
The fire spread rapidly over the weekend, and by Monday morning it had been under control.
The plant was shut down by Monday afternoon, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
The agency has said the fire was caused by corrosion in the pipes.
“Flint’s water system is at the very end of its life and we are confident that the water supply in Flint is safe for the people of the community,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a statement Monday.
“We are working closely with the state and federal government to ensure that Flint residents have access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water.”
McCarthy said the EPA is conducting an investigation into what went wrong with the plant, and that she hopes to have answers soon.
Flint is in the midst of a water crisis that left hundreds of people in the city without drinking water and caused more than 1,000 children to be hospitalized with lead poisoning.
The city has been trying to replace lead pipes in the area for years, and it took years to install the water infrastructure.
In addition to the lead, the fire spread into pipes that supply the water to more than 100,000 Flint residents.
A total of 31 homes have been damaged by the fire, according a news release from the city.
In a statement, the governor said the water system in Flint was “at the very ends of its service life” and that the Flint Water and Sewerage Department will close by Friday.
Brian Schweitzer said Monday the state is “working diligently to ensure the health and safety of our residents and all Flint residents,” but the state will continue to make repairs and install replacement pipes in other areas of the city if needed.
McCarthys office said the state has ordered all affected residents to turn off water at home until further notice.
Flint was forced to shut down the water treatment plant in the fall of 2015 after lead was found in the water supplies of nearly a dozen people who had switched from using the Detroit water system to the Flint River.
The governor said he is confident that “the city of Flint will be able to continue operating safely and responsibly without further interruption and is committed to providing the state of Michigan with all necessary financial assistance.”
McDonald said Monday that the city’s emergency manager, Kurt Bardella, was “committed to providing adequate financial assistance” to residents of Flint.
McDonald also said that the state was working with the federal government and local governments in Flint to ensure all necessary equipment, supplies and services are available for the residents of the affected area.
“The city of Detroit has been working diligently to replace the water lines in Flint,” the governor added.
“Flint is one of many areas of Michigan that have been affected by the ongoing water crisis in Flint.
Flint’s water is safe and reliable.
I know that Governor Bardella is committed and committed to ensuring that the citizens of Flint have access at all times to safe drinking water, safe sewerage and safe, reliable treatment and disinfection systems.”
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