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Michigan gov.: We don't want people to assume Flint water is safe

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder apologized for the Flint water crisis Tuesday night in his State of the State address. Now, he is speaking out again and taking responsibility for the water contamination that has left Flint's 100,000 residents with out easy access to clean water.

SCOTT PELLEY: Governor, is the water in Flint safe today?

GOVERNOR SNYDER: We don't want to consider it safe, Scott. I think we've seen progress in terms of improvements in the water testing. But until it's been thoroughly tested, including third-party verification, we want people to assume that they should be using filters, or bottled water as an interim measure.

PELLEY: So fair to say you don't know what the lead content is in the water?

SNYDER:Well, again -- we don't want people to believe it's safe. Extensive testing is going on, has been going on for some time. And we are seeing improvements in the water supply. But we don't want people to believe it's appropriate to drink at this point in time, and that's why I'm proud to have the National Guard out there working hard.

PELLEY: I don't understand why you can't give us the latest testing data and what it shows for the water in Flint. What is the number?

SNYDER:I don't have the number at the top of my head of the very latest data. And it varies by parts of the city.

PELLEY: I would think that the governor of Michigan would have those numbers at the top of his mind right now.

SNYDER: Until they're in a range that is considered safe, I don't actually want to get into the issue of, by ZIP code or by street, what the particular sayings are. This is the point of bringing in third-party experts to make sure we have the best information -- that they affirm that it's a level that would be considered safe.

PELLEY: Do you know how many children have been injured?

SNYDER: No, not specifically. We do know how many have high blood lead levels. And in that range, we're talking probably over 100 kids. There could be a number of others. We're assuming there's a much broader universe. And that's why we're working hard on making sure we're following up with good early childhood interventions during elementary school. And we'll be looking at care for years on this to make sure we're following through to do what we can to really make sure these kids get issues addressed.

PELLEY: Let's be plain. What went wrong in the Department of Environmental Quality?

SNYDER: They were too technical. They followed literally the rules. They didn't use enough common sense to say in a situation like this, there should be more measures. There should be more concern. And it has led to this terrible tragedy that I'm sorry for, but I'm going to fix.

PELLEY: If the pipes throughout the city are corroded, how do you fix this problem?

SNYDER: You can re-coat these pipes, in all likelihood, and that's what we're going through -- that process now. We've enhanced the corrosion controls to really put a coating back on the pipe so it can be safely used.

PELLEY: In terms of the sickout in the Detroit schools [Wednesday], what is your message to the teachers?

SNYDER: I would hope you would stop harming the children. I appreciate the fact that people have strong feelings on different issues. But to do it at the expense of affecting the school day for the children, I don't think that's appropriate.