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City of Flint nearing completion of critically important secondary water pipeline project

The city of Flint will soon complete construction of a secondary water pipeline, a critically important infrastructure improvement mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

With completion of the project, the city and its residents will have a safe and reliable backup source of water. Construction on the secondary water pipeline, a $17-million infrastructure investment, is expected to be finished this month.

“Completion of this project means the city of Flint will never again use the Flint River as a source of drinking water,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “This is another important step forward in our work to repair Flint’s water infrastructure. We still have work to do, but I am proud of the progress we are making to move our community forward in a positive direction.”

Construction of the secondary water pipeline is one of three major infrastructure improvements set to be completed this year. The city also expects to complete replacement of residential lead service lines and construction of the water treatment building this year.

Although the water crisis started seven years ago, not a single major infrastructure project was completed before Neeley took office. Several projects, including the secondary water pipeline, had been scheduled for completion in 2019 but had not yet even gone out for bid.

Michael Brown, Department of Public Works director for the city of Flint, provided a project update in a virtual informational meeting today on June 8, 2021. Residents also are invited to give public comment on the project.

Flint does not currently have a backup water supply. Establishing a backup water supply was required under the emergency order issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2016 as well as the State of Michigan Safe Water Drinking Act and the city’s agreement with the city’s primary water supplier.

Flint will continue using Lake Huron water provided by Detroit, which is now known as the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), as its primary water supplier. The backup pipeline connects to the Genesee County Drain Commission system and will ensure residents have a safe and reliable water source in case of an emergency or some unforeseen disruption in service from GLWA.

The drain commission supplies water to virtually every other community in Genesee County as its primary water supply. It operates a new (2017) water treatment plant that uses the same water treatment technology as Detroit.

Both GLWA and Genesee County get all their water from Lake Huron. To keep the water in the backup pipeline fresh and ready to use in an emergency, a small amount of Genesee County water (about 5% of the overall volume) will flow on an ongoing basis into the Flint water system.

Flint continues to closely monitor its water quality on a continuous basis. It has tested far below federal action levels for lead since 2016. Additional monitoring also will take place when the secondary water pipeline is connected and during other major infrastructure projects.

Public comment will continue to be accepted by mail and email:

Email: waterpubliccomments@cityofflint.com

Mail: City of Flint – DPW

Water Public Comment

1101 S. Saginaw St.

Flint, MI 48502

For more information on the status of Flint water, see the full progress report on Flint water at www.CityofFlint.com/progressreport.

The informational meeting is part of Neeley’s commitment to share updates and provide opportunities for public comment on an ongoing basis as the city continues to move forward with water infrastructure improvement projects. Additional meetings will be planned to detail future projects, including additional usage of the secondary water pipeline when the city upgrades the city’s water distribution system to make it more efficient.

Important reminder for residents: If you have a water emergency or issue with your service, please call (810) 766-7202 for water, and 766-7079 for sewer. This line is monitored 24 hours a day to respond to problems.

Residents with non-emergency questions or concerns, can email water@cityofflint.com. This email is monitored by the DPW department and they are happy to assist.

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