Flint is still contending with its long-standing water issues, and now there's a new mess in the beleaguered Michigan city. MLive.com reports that "months after dire warnings" of reaching a "critical point," 2 million gallons of raw sewage ended up in the Flint River Sunday, with a city official on Tuesday blaming a "flash flood event" at the city's Beecher Road wastewater treatment plant. After a weekend of heavy rains, wastewater "settling" tanks reportedly overflowed, sending untreated sewage into the soil around the tanks and into a storm drain that dumps into the river. A public advisory was issued, warning people to stay away from the river due to possibly elevated bacteria levels. Now, the finger-pointing has begun, with the head of Flint's Department of Public Works laying the blame on the inclement weather, MLive notes.
"The condition of infrastructure and needed capital investment at the wastewater treatment plant had nothing to do with the recent discharge," Rob Bincsik said in a Thursday statement, instead citing the "duration and intensity of the rain." He added that treatment plant staffers did everything right, but they "are really at the mercy of Mother Nature in situations such as this." His infrastructure comment was in reference to $30 million in upgrades that he and others have said that particular plant needs. Just last week, WALB had reported on the "good news" of fishermen, boaters, and kayakers returning to the river after a relative lack of recent sewage spills. Meanwhile, Bincsik's statement says there are indeed high bacteria levels in the river from the rain, but not from the plant incident. (More Flint, Michigan stories.)