‘A Slap In the Face’: Hundreds of Cases of Donated Water Discovered in Vacant Flint School

A Flint, Michigan, couple said they were out “urban exploring” when they stumbled upon a shocking discovery — stockpiles of bottled water left inside an abandoned building.

Jimmy Cowell and his fiancée Kira found the hundreds of packages of bottled water last weekend at an abandoned school building near the former St. Agnes Church. Cowell, who recorded the discovery, said it all feels like a “slap in the face,” considering the city is still reeling from a devastating water contamination crisis.

“We were pretty dumbfounded that anyone could leave that much water behind that this city truly relied on,” he told the Flint Journal. “If anyone wants to know where [the] Flint donations went, it’s just sitting in abandoned buildings in stockpiles. … This is probably a 30-by-50 room full of water.”

The couple said they were out exploring forgotten buildings in Flint when they came across the stash. They said they heard the sound running water, and ventured to the basement to find a room stockpiled with cases of water “from floor to ceiling, wall to wall.”

The city’s residents were forced to rely on bottled water donations after their water system was contaminated with lead in 2014, thanks to a decision by Flint leaders to switch the source of the city’s water supply.

Flint is nearly four years removed from the crisis and state leaders insist the water quality has improved. Still, many residents fear the water is unsafe to drink. Cowell, who lives in Flint, said he refuses to use the water from his tap.

“I do not drink the faucet water (and) if I shower for more than 10 to 15 minutes, it smells like I’m swimming in a freshly chlorinated pool,” he told Detroit’s WXYZ. “It kills the plants; it makes them yellow. It bleaches them, it dries them out. If it’s doing that to plants then I’m afraid of what it’d do to me.”














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