Flint residents still worried about their water get an added dose of aggravation starting this month: They have to pay their bills in full. The state has been covering about two-thirds of the cost for about a year now, in the wake of revelations that the tap water was unsafe to drink, reports NPR. No more. Now that state officials have deemed the water safe again, the subsidies disappeared as of March 1. While that designation might sound like good news, plenty of skepticism abounds, and not just from local residents. The water is still "unsafe to drink," pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha, who first helped bring the problem to the nation's attention, tells ABC News. Not helping ease fears is the state's recommendation that people continue to filter the water before drinking it. What's more, pipe replacement isn't finished.
"For years, Flint residents paid the highest water rates in the country for water that was and continues to be unsafe to drink,” says Hanna-Attisha. “The people of Flint should not pay for water today nor for years to come.” The counterpoint comes from a scientist who helped conduct the new tests for the state. Flint's water is "in the range of other cities with old pipe," he says, while acknowledging that a "horrible infrastructure crisis" remains to be fixed. A report at WJRT suggests that Flint water bills are indeed among the highest in the nation, though the city couldn't provide an average. Anecdotally, the station reported that monthly bills range from $60 into the hundreds. (There's going to be a TV movie with Cher about the mess.)