Looking ahead to prevent future public health issues

By: Ryan Burklow

Infrastructure problems that led to the Flint water crisis and the Fraser sinkhole have highlighted the need to address the possibility of future public health issues in Michigan. During his 7th budget presentation, Gov. Rick Snyder demonstrated his commitment to ensuring Michiganders are protected from events like the ones in Flint and Fraser.

Gov. Snyder’s public health recommendations are a lot like preventative medicine — by properly funding programs capable of detecting the next major public health crisis, steps can be taken to address the problem before it actually becomes a problem.

Joined at Grace Emmanuel Church in Flint by state Rep. Sheldon Neeley and other state and local officials and community members, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation to ensure Michigan residents are notified more quickly if lead levels in their public water supply exceed safety requirements.

In terms of clean water resources, Gov. Snyder has proposed a $6.8 million investment in drinking water programs — which include lead prevention and toxicology response. Additionally, the Governor has recommended a $3 million investment that will contribute to a state match for the federal Drinking Water Revolving Fund. The fund is a partnership between states and the federal government that provides financial support for water systems and state water programs.

Gov. Snyder also recommended investments that will ensure clean water in Michigan’s schools. By investing $4.5 million in the statewide school drinking water quality program, Michigan parents can rest easy knowing the drinking water at their children’s school is safe. The program reimburses public schools as well as registered nonpublic schools for drinking water testing, fixture replacements, plumbing assessments or filter purchases through Sept. 30, 2017.

Gov. Snyder visiting the site of the Fraser sinkhole

Ensuring access to clean water is just one aspect of the Governor’s plan to address public health issues. He has also proposed a total investment of $4.9 million for the Vapor Intrusion Program to protect air quality in the state. Vapor intrusion occurs when vapors from contaminated soil or ground water migrate through different underground pathways and ultimately impact the indoor air quality of nearby buildings.

By looking ahead and making sound investments, Gov. Snyder has made several recommendations that will improve the quality of life in Michigan.

To learn more about Gov. Rick Snyder’s FY 2018 budget visit mi.gov/MIBudget or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using #MIBudget.