Many of you have reached out to me with your concerns about Flint's recent water troubles, and I wanted to take a moment to update you on the situation and what I have been doing to improve Flint’s water quality.
This is my top priority in 2015 and my plan includes safety, access, investment and education. The water has to be 100% safe and all of our customers need to feel confident in the water coming out of the tap. It is not acceptable to have tests showing high levels of contaminants. The management deficiencies and the unanticipated challenges with the river water as a temporary source must be fully rectified.
As you know, because Flint continues to have a Governor appointed emergency manager, I sent a letter to Governor Snyder outlining my Flint Water Improvement Plan urging him to explore the various ways state resources could be utilized to provide short-term relief and make long-term structural improvements. I want to thank all of you who expressed your support for this comprehensive approach. I know we got their attention because last week I received a call from the Governor indicating that he was also concerned about the water issues and was reviewing the recommendations.
Earlier this week we got a breakthrough. The State announced Tuesday that they will award Flint $2 million to find leaks in city water lines and to replace our wastewater incinerator. This is a good first step, a down payment on the investments – about $50 million worth – that need to be made to our infrastructure. The water line work with improve the integrity of the system, which can affect safety and quality. The investment in the wastewater and sewer system will free up local resources to focus more on water.
I will continue to work on this every day because we know through our capital improvement planning that $50 million is required to fully update our water infrastructure. In June of 2016, Flint will transition to the Karegnondi Water Authority's pipeline from Lake Huron, but our community needed a sustainable, affordable solution for water during the transition time until the pipeline is complete.
Many residents of Flint have expressed their concerns to me in person at community meetings, over the phone, through email, and on social media, and I welcome further input. I will continue to do all that I can to spread accurate and timely information, and work toward short and long-term solutions for our water problems. Please feel free to email me if you have any specific concerns or questions. You can also click here to follow the most up-to-date developments on my website.
It's clear we have more work to do and there are certainly more questions to be answered, but I will do everything I can to serve as an advocate for the people of Flint, especially those vulnerable families and seniors. In fact, today the City of Flint joined with community partners to host a water fair to assist with getting people reconnected to the water system and to get information about water quality. If you know someone who needs assistance, please pass this email along to them.
Thanks, Dayne Walling