How bad is the water in Flint, Michigan after recent changes to address the ongoing problems? We may be about to find out.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder claims he’s going to be drinking Flint water (run through a faucet filter) day and night for at least the next month to prove that it’s safe. Crazy? Perhaps crazy like a fox… or at least a fox suffering from long term encephalopathy brought on by lead exposure. (TPM)

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will drink Flint water at home and at work for at least a month to show to residents it is safe with the use of a faucet filter, he said Monday.

The Republican governor, who has apologized for his administration’s role in the city’s lead-tainted water crisis, visited a house that had been confirmed to have high levels of lead and left with five gallons of filtered water. He said he understands people feel that if officials say the water is OK, then he should drink it, too.

“What better way to help show support,” said Snyder, who will get refills from other homes as needed.

I’m old enough to remember the media hysteria surrounding the Three Mile Island nuclear plant incident back in the late 70s. One of the more notable media moments of that turbulent episode came when President Jimmy Carter showed up and drank a glass of water tapped off the failed system to show people that they were safe. Of course in that incident, the water from the primary reactor cooling loop never mixed with the secondary systems so the contamination risk was minimal at worst.

So how safe is the water in Flint if it is run through a standard faucet filter? The answer provides a surprisingly sunny outlook. USA Today ran a detailed report last month showing that most water filters actually do a good job of removing almost all of the lead in your drinking water. Also, the EPA has tested most of the available filtration devices and published the results. One would assume that the Governor’s staff looked into the situation pretty carefully before putting the boss on this particular diet plan and know that the filtered water is okay to drink, even if it tastes pretty awful.

In the end, this is a stunt more than any sort of scientific endeavor, but we’re talking about politicians here so that’s not going to come as a surprise. Despite numerous public statements and hearings in Washington, DC, Snyder has found himself on the ropes. The real cause of the crisis in Flint began with the EPA and the state Department of Environmental Quality (along with local leadership) but Snyder is the only Republican around so the liberals are tying to blame the entire thing on him. He’s clearly accountable as the head of the state government, but no response on the part of the Governor’s office was ever going to be enough to satisfy the state and national Democrats who smelled blood in the water and thought they’d found a way to boot Snyder out of office and embarrass the GOP.

Will drinking the water himself make any difference? Not in the media. But at least he’s making an effort to restore calm and keep order so I’m not going to fault him for this effort.

Rick Snyder Michigan