Flint's mayor to recommend water source after lead crisis

Patrice Gainsbourg
Abril 19, 2017

Flint and Genesee County communities split off from Detroit's water system in 2014 to build the KWA pipeline in a bid to become independent of Detroit's water system, which was spun off into the new Great Lakes Water Authority in Detroit's 2014 bankruptcy restructuring. It was heralded as a cost-cutting move.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver announced Tuesday morning that the city intends to stay with Detroit's water supply, according to a statement from the Great Lakes Water Authority.

Karen Weaver's announcement Tuesday is a reversal.

Stateside spoke with Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody about the implications of that announcement for the city of Flint and the KWA. "This protects residents from any potential fears or anxieties that will come with another change in our water source, especially at a time when the water has improved and is now meeting federal and state action level standards", said Weaver. "Ensuring the public's health and safety is our No. 1 top priority". Last year, she said the city of 100,000 residents would stick with a plan to draw from a new pipeline to Lake Huron that is in the testing phase.

The shift to GLWA comes just three years after officials from the city and the state said the Flint treatment plant was capable of treating Flint River water, a more hard job than the lake water that will be delivered by the KWA.

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The city remains on the hook for $7 million annual bond payments to the Karegnondi Water Authority, but Weaver said that cost would be offset by credits from the Detroit-area authority in exchange for gaining Flint's water rights to the KWA.

Weaver's support for a long-term contract with GLWA represents a shift in her position, which as recently as November involved upgrades in Flint's water plant and construction of a water reservoir for use in case of emergency.

Officials hope the city council approves the proposed deal after a 30-day public comment period. Flint can deploy the federal money "to the highest and best use", he said.

Weaver says switching the water source again is too risky and staying with Detroit's water is less expensive.

Kaplan compared the plant to a broken-down auto in need of massive repairs and said the EPA intentionally put plans for spending millions there on hold because of the concern that the city was investing too much in an old facility.

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