Calling it “outrageous” that Flint residents are being forced to pay for water that is unsafe to drink, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Monday that he may take steps to halt the charges, reports NBC News.
He also said his office is investigating which measures can be taken to provide financial relief to residents, who were subjected to chemical byproducts, E. coli, Legionnaires’ disease, and lead after the city’s water source was switched to the corrosive Flint River in 2014, the report says.
“Words can barely describe this tragedy. Things went terribly wrong,” he said. “I would certainly not bathe a newborn child or a young infant in this bad water and if you can’t drink the bad water you shouldn’t pay for it.”
Although the city has now switched back to Detroit’s water supply, health officials say so much damage was done that the water coming out of the taps is still not safe for children in the economically depressed city, where water bills average $140 a month, according to the Flint Journal.
It was unclear if Schuette could stop Flint from shutting off water to families who don’t pay their bills. The city has previously said that hindering its ability to raise water rates and put liens on those delinquent on bills could push Flint toward bankruptcy.
Schuette’s office has also launched a criminal probe into the water emergency to determine if any laws were broken, notes the report.