Flint Water-1

FILE - In this March 21, 2016 file photo, the Flint Water Plant water tower is seen in Flint, Mich. Michigan will close the last four locations where Flint residents have been getting free bottled water, filters, replacement cartridges and testing kits because the city's water quality has been below federal action levels for lead for nearly two years. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal watchdog is urging the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen its oversight of state drinking water systems in the wake of the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan.

The EPA's Office of Inspector General says in a report that the agency must take steps now to be able to react more quickly in times of public health emergencies.

Flint's tap water became contaminated with lead in 2014 after officials switched from the Detroit system to the Flint River to save money.

Afterward, some children were found to have elevated lead levels in their blood.

A whistleblower in the EPA's Chicago office warned colleagues about the crisis in early 2015 but the agency didn't act until months later.

The EPA says it agrees with the recommendations and is adopting them.

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