Policy

Obama Drinks the Water in Flint

President visits crisis-plagued city, says it could take years to fully rebuild water system

President Barack Obama drinks filtered water during a stop in Flint, Mich., which is dealing with a health and economic crisis caused by tainted water. (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama on Wednesday drank a glass of filtered water that originated from the once-toxic Flint, Mich., water system during a visit to the crisis-plagued city .  

"Filtered water is safe, and it works," Obama said before taking a sip, according to a White House pool report. "Working with the state and the city, filters are now available for everyone in the city."  

The president spoke after receiving a briefing on the health and economic crisis that continues in Flint after its faulty water system led Obama in January, after weeks of public pressure, to declare an emergency situation in the city.  

Obama acknowledged “a lot of suspicion” exists about whether the city’s water is safe to drink. But he pointed to an Environmental Protection Agency analysis that found the water is safe for everyone except children younger than six and pregnant women — but only if it has first been filtered.  

[Related: The New 9th Ward: 'Flint's Katrina' Is Still Going On] White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Monday said it was unclear if Obama would drink Flint water while there.  

"Generally I haven't been doing stunts but here you go," Obama said, then sipping from the glass.  

Obama also told reporters it could take more than two years to fully rebuild Flint's water system : "It might take a year. It might take two years. It might take more."  

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