Support Local Journalism. Donate to Detroit Metro Times.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Stockpiles of water found abandoned inside a vacant Flint school

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 12:56 PM

click to enlarge SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Shutterstock.com

Thousand of bottles of unused water still wrapped in plastic were found inside an abandoned high school in Flint, and no one is taking responsibility for it.

The water — stacked six cases high — has been inside the vacant Flint Northern High School for more than a year, according to urban explorer Todd Farnum, who says he spotted the stack of bottles in the same location in 2018.

Farnum's discovery comes nearly six years after lead-tainted water began poisoning residents when the city, under the control of the state government, switched its source of water to the Flint River in April 2014.



Now, many homes still don’t have clean drinking water.

So why has this bottled water languished for more than a year?

click to enlarge Cases of water inside Flint Northern High School, which closed in 2014. - ANONYMOUS VIA TODD FARNUM
  • Anonymous via Todd Farnum
  • Cases of water inside Flint Northern High School, which closed in 2014.

Flint Community Schools Superintendent Derrick Lopez says the Flint Police Athletics League (PAL) was using the school for athletics, and the water does not belong to the district. The school permanently closed in 2014.

“The water that is there is property of the P.A.L.,” Lopez tells Metro Times in a written statement. “All activities at that site, including any donations, would have been coordinated by PAL for the program’s operating purposes. The Flint Community Schools District was not the recipient of the water bottles at that site.”

But it appears Flint PAL is no longer active. The group was dissolved late last year, according to Calvin McQueen, president of the executive board of Flint PAL Corp., which he says is a different group that will resurrect the former group.

“I don’t want to get blamed for something we didn’t do,” McQueen tells Metro Times. “I don’t know where the water came from or how it got there.”

This isn't the first time that bottled water was left found in an abandoned building in Flint. A resident discovered thousands of bottles of water in a vacant, dirty church in May 2019.

Farnum said it "is totally insane" that water was discarded yet again. Residents deserve better, he said.

"Those folks have been getting let down their whole lives," Farnum tells Metro Times.

In November 2018, three companies donated 76,800 bottles of water to Flint PAL and the school district, according to ABC12-TV. A photo of the water shows cases stacked six high on a blue wooden pallet — identical to the water inside the school. Lopez insists the district had nothing to do with the water.

But Lopez and McQueen agree that someone needs to retrieve the water if it’s still useable.

“The district is working with PAL to ensure the organization has a plan for use and distribution of the water,” Lopez says.

McQueen said he would help retrieve the water if the school district reaches out to him.

“Somebody needs to go in there and get that water,” McQueen tells Metro Times.

click to enlarge Flint Northern High School. - GOOGLEMAPS
  • GoogleMaps
  • Flint Northern High School.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Metro Times has been keeping Detroit informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Metro Times. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 8, 2020

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2020 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation