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Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to tell a congressional oversight committee on Thursday that the contamination of Flint’s water supply was a failure of government at every level and call on Congress to strengthen the regulations governing lead levels in the nation’s drinking water supply.

“Let me be blunt. This was a failure of government at all levels. Local, state and federal officials — we all failed the families of Flint,” Snyder is to say, according to excerpts of the governor’s prepared remarks to the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigating Flint.

“This is not about politics or partisanship. I am not going to point fingers or shift blame; there is plenty of that to share, and neither will help the people of Flint.”

The governor is expected to call on Congress to toughen  the  federal Lead and Copper Rule that regulates contaminate levels in drinking water supplies nationwide.

“I close with a simple plea,” Snyder said in prepared remarks. “Partner with me in fixing this — not just for the people of Flint, but for people all over the country.”

U.S. House Flint water hearings

The governor said he is “grateful to have been elected to serve the people of Michigan. I understand their anger. I’ve been humbled by this experience. And I’m going to make Flint and every community in Michigan a better place to live. We have a lot to learn, and a lot to do.”

The governor’s prepared remarks were provided to the Free Press in advance of the hearing set to begin in  at 9 a.m. Thursday in Washington.

“The truth is, there are many communities with potentially dangerous lead problems,” Snyder says, according to the excerpt of his planned remarks. “And if the DEQ and EPA do not change … and if the dumb and dangerous federal Lead and Copper Rule is not changed . . . then this tragedy will befall other American cities. Professor Edwards has been sounding this alarm for years. I look forward to joining with him to address this failure of government.” Snyder was referring to Marc Edwards, a leading expert in lead contamination and professor at Virginia Tech University.

Separately, a USA TODAY NETWORK investigation published Wednesday identified almost 2,000 additional water systems, spanning all 50 states, where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years. Earlier Wednesday, Snyder expressed disappointment that the federal government has rejected his appeal of an earlier denial of certain funding requests to assist the state in addressing the Flint drinking water crisis.

Flint’s drinking water became contaminated with lead after the city, while under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, switched its drinking water source in April 2014 from Lake Huron water treated by the Detroit water system to Flint River water treated at the Flint water treatment plant.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality failed to require the addition of needed corrosion-control chemicals as part of the treatment process and the corrosive Flint River water ate into pipes, joints and fixtures, sending unsafe lead levels into Flint homes and businesses. The city returned to Detroit water in October, but a potential hazard remains because of damage to the water distribution system.

“We have uncovered systemic failures at the Michigan DEQ,” Snyder said in prepared remarks. “The fact is, bureaucrats created a culture that valued technical compliance over common sense – and the result was that lead was leaching into residents’ water.”

Records show the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to act quickly on concerns about lead in the water, and Snyder said the catastrophe represents failures at the local, state and federal levels of government.

“We are taking responsibility and taking action in Michigan, and that is absolutely essential here in Washington, too. Inefficient, ineffective, and unaccountable bureaucrats at the EPA allowed this disaster to continue unnecessarily,” Snyder said in his prepared remarks.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came under heavy fire Tuesday for its handling of high levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water, with an expert on lead contamination calling it “completely unacceptable and criminal, frankly” even as the EPA’s former Midwest administrator claimed her agency was not at fault for what happened.

“I don’t think anyone at the EPA did anything wrong, but I do believe we could have done more,” former EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman told stunned members of the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holding their second hearing into the Flint water crisis Tuesday, with several criticizing her stance that the agency doesn’t share in at least some of the responsibility.

While Hedman, who resigned Feb. 1 amid fallout from the crisis, defended the agency,  Edwards  called hers and EPA’s slow response to warnings signs in Flint “willful blindness,” blaming longstanding bureaucratic rules which allow municipalities to skirt lead testing rules. He called the agency “completely unrepentant and unable to learn from their mistakes.”

The governor in his prepared remarks describes what his administration has done in Flint in recent months, acknowledging much remains to be done to aid and protect city residents.

“Our focus, and our priority, is on both short-term health and long-term safety. This includes diagnostic testing, nurse visits and environmental assessments in the home to treat any children with high lead levels,” the governor said in his prepared remarks. “That is only the beginning.”

Todd Spangler and Paul Egan contributed to this report.

Contact Matthew Dolan: 313-223-4743 or msdolan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewsdolan.