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Freshwater Future Weekly: April 7, 2020

Posted on April 7, 2020 by

April 3, 2020

This week: Water Service Restoration Update + COVID-19 has Great Lakes aquariums and museums offering online activities + Federal Judge Allows Flint Water Lawsuit Against Former Gov Snyder to Proceed + Flint mayor announces city-wide curfew effective April 2nd

Water Service Restoration Update

Michigan:

Whitmer orders that homes’ water service be restored amid COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Whitmer issued an executive order to restore water services to occupied homes.  Thank you to all the Freshwater Future supporters who helped send a message to Governor Whitmer urging a moratorium on water shutoffs and restoration of essential water services..  Access to water is imperative for residents to have the capacity to thoroughly wash their hands, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Now utility companies must get to work to identify and restore residential homes’ water. As part of the Executive Order, Governor Whitmer is requiring all public water suppliers that have used shutoffs as a consequence for nonpayment to file a report with the state on their efforts to restore service by April 12th.

Public Health Experts Urge Michigan Mayors To Turn Water On ASAP

Michigan residents and public health experts are calling on Governor Whitmer to work with her newly created Michigan Advisory Council for Environmental Justice (MAC EJ) to ensure that residential water services are restored quickly, transparently, and equitably.  Detroit and Michigan have become national epicenters for the Coronavirus in the U.S. and the Governor and her administration must work quickly to restore life-saving resources, such as clean water. This week, medical professionals and public health experts joined We The People, Freshwater Future, and Great Lakes Environmental Law Center to update the media via teleconference on the public health impact of water shut offs and how they are contributing to the high rate of coronavirus infection throughout the state.  The recorded teleconference is now available on YouTube. Click here to watch.

Ohio:

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency orders water restored and halts future shutoffs

Earlier this week, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director, Laurie Stevenson, sent an order to all public utilities in Ohio to restore residential water services as quickly as possible and halt any disconnection due to nonpayment or fees. This order also directed public water utilities to not charge a reconnection fee and provide residents with instructions on how to properly flush their pipes before using the water. This order is in place until December 1, 2020 or until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Illinois:

Some Chicagoans May Be Facing Coronavirus Without Water At Home

An investigation of City of Chicago records by WBEZ discovered the potential of thousands of residents without water service. Fortunately, Mayor Lori Lightfoot placed a moratorium on water shutoffs soon after taking office in May 2019. Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, BIG (Blacks in Green) and many other organizations are working to identify residences without water.

Wisconsin:

On March 22nd, Governor Evers and the Public Service Commission (PSC), which oversee approximately 575 public and private utilities throughout Wisconsin, halted water shutoffs and streamline the restoration of residential water services. In addition, PSC directed utilities to wave late fees. Are you a resident of Wisconsin and need support in getting your water turned on now? Click here.

Great Lakes Aquariums and Museums Offering Online Activities

Amid COVID-19, there are people who take lemons and make lemonade. Due to physical distancing, community facilities and entertainment centers are closed to the public. However, these resilient centers have gone on online for enjoyment and learning. Throughout the entire Great Lake region there are aquariums, museums and live animal feedings available to you in the comfort of your own home. Click here to pick your favorite place, there is still fun to be had!

Update: Federal Judge Allows Flint Water Lawsuit Against Former Gov Snyder to Proceed

Flint family’s lawsuit against state officials was allowed to proceed by a Federal Judge.  Judge Levy dismissed charges against the former Mayor and other state officials but is allowing the case against former Gov Rick Snyder and Emergency Manager, Darnell Earley to proceed.

@FreshwaterFutur

© 2020 Freshwater Future. All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.