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City of Flint switches back to primary water source after GLWA water main break

FLINT, Mich.—Just a year ago, the City of Flint would likely have been included among the list of communities impacted by the recent Great Lakes Water Authority’s (GLWA) 120-inch water main break. As neighboring communities experienced disrupted water service and boil water alerts, Flint residents had no interruption thanks to a new secondary water source, the Genesee County Drain Commission (GCDC) pipeline, which represents a significant investment to the municipality’s water infrastructure.

The city recently notified residents and businesses that on October 13, at 8 a.m., it commenced the process of transitioning from its secondary water source back to its primary GLWA pipeline. 

 “Water is a human right, “Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “I am proud that under my leadership, residents had this vital resource in place to better protect their health and safety and ensure continuity of water service during emergencies like the recent GLWA water main break. This is a moment when residents can see the results of major water infrastructure investments in action. My administration will continue to champion efforts that work to improve quality of life for residents while rebuilding trust throughout this community.”

GLWA notified city officials on September 30 that the pipeline was repaired and ready to be returned to service. On October 3, the city began flushing about 24 miles of 72-inch pipeline. Over five days, 7 million gallons a day flowed through the pipes into a reservoir.

Once the chlorine-free residual hit the important quality mark of 1.2 PPM, the city began water chemistry testing. All results were within regulatory limits and EGLE confirmed that the water was safe to consume, and the GLWA pipeline ready to serve as Flint’s primary water source once again.

“This is a slow process because of the sheer volume of water flowing through both pipelines,” Flint Water Plant Supervisor Scott Dungee said.

According to Dungee, they remained in constant contact with GLWA to coordinate ramping down the flow from GCDC as they simultaneously increased the water flow from GLWA.


GLWA notified Flint officials of the water main break on August 13, 2022, and the City’s Department of Public Works quickly protected residents by seamlessly transitioning from the damaged GLWA pipeline to the GCDC secondary pipeline.

During that time, the city regularly communicated with the EPA and EGLE to ensure the city’s water was meeting state and federal water quality standards.

The State of Michigan and the Environmental Protection Agency have provided more than $167 million in funding for state-of-the-art upgrades to Flint’s water infrastructure, ensuring the highest quality of water to residents in adherence with the State of Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act. Additional free supports for residents have included replacement of lead or galvanized pipes, door-to-door water sampling, digital meter replacement, lead abatement education and more.

In addition to Flint’s new backup water source, the city has completed the following major infrastructure projects, designed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of residents now and into the future:

● New Chemical Feed Building – A new state-of-the-art treatment facility includes a chemical feed building equipped to supply and store vital chemicals in three separate chambers, new scales to monitor and weigh chemicals, and a 24/7 monitoring system to feed chemicals both efficiently and effectively.

● Control Station 2 (CS2) – CS2 features a new butterfly actuator valve to help improve water flow from GLWA to better meet the needs of residents.

● Water main replacements  Replacement work has been completed at Atherton Rd, Dupont St, and Court St in Flint.

The the City of Flint’s ongoing projects include:

● Dort Reservoir and Pump Station Projects – Scheduled for completion in December 2022, an updated 20-million-gallon underground reservoir can supply residents with water for two full days in an emergency. Two new ladders allow workers to safely access reservoir wells, and new technology adapted to the pump station better controls water speed.

● Cedar Street Reservoir and Northwest Water Main – Renovations are scheduled to start in 2023.

 For a video about Flint’s new water system and to see how it operates in delivering safe drinking water to residents and businesses, visit: https://vimeo.com/752219459/f2225b2b68


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