RI leaders discuss local water supply

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed met with local leaders about the state of Rhode Island’s water supply Friday. (WJAR)

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed met with local leaders about the state of Rhode Island's water supply Friday.

The meeting took place as a water crisis plays out in Flint, Michigan, where toxic levels of lead have been found.

The senator said it's necessary to continue to audit Rhode Island's water supply and update the infrastructure.

Reed, who met with officials from the Providence Water Supply Board, the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Department of Environmental Management, as well as federal EPA personnel, wanted to get a feel for the status of the water being circulated into the state's homes and businesses.

"We want to stay on top of this problem because we do not want to see a situation like Flint here in Rhode Island," said Reed.

In 2014, Flint switched to using water from the river, but did not treat it. That caused the water to corrode lead pipes, and taint the water supply.

"There is constant monitoring of several different measures, not only the water itself, but also blood levels, particularly in children," Reed said.

Reed acknowledged that the infrastructure in Rhode Island is old, but said he is working to raise money in Washington, D.C. to fund constant updates.

So far, he said there is $8.8 million for the safe drinking water revolving fund for the water fed through Rhode Island taps and $9 million for the Clean Water Fund, ensuring proper maintenance of the state's surface water.

The Clean Water Act continues to be debated in Washington after the President vetoed Republican attempt to weaken it.

On Friday, the Senate voted to block the veto override as the sides continue to try to find a national solution.

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