Ontario premier offers province’s clean water expertise to help Flint, Michigan

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks in Kingston, Ont., on March 31, 2016.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks in Kingston, Ont., on March 31, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

DETROIT — Some of the expertise Ontario developed in clean drinking water following the E. coli tragedy in Walkerton that claimed the lives of seven people in 2000 will be used to help address water problems in Flint, Mich.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says it was “wonderful” of Premier Kathleen Wynne to offer help from Ontario to deal with the problems in Flint, where the city has dangerous levels of lead in its drinking water.

The city switched its water source to the Flint River from Detroit’s municipal system in 2014 to save money, but the river water was more corrosive than that of the Detroit system and caused more lead to leach from aging pipes.

READ MORE: Criminal charges laid against 3 officials over Flint water crisis

Snyder says he will gladly take Ontario up on its offer of expert help on installing and managing municipal water systems. The governor said the Netherlands was also quick to offer its expertise in safe drinking water.

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He says the rest of the United States tends to have the same answers to the problems in Flint, so he’s happy to “look to our smart neighbours to the north” for solutions.

Wynne says Ontario and Michigan share the same harsh winters, so clean water technologies developed in the province will also work well in the neighbouring state.