Flint, MI– Since last Thursday, the City has been incrementally increasing use of the recently completed secondary water pipeline. 

In order to test the secondary pipeline, and complete valve repairs on the primary pipeline, the City is going to gradually incorporate more and more water from the secondary pipeline over the course of several weeks. 

Having a secondary pipeline is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be used in case of an emergency. Flint’s is connected to the Genesee County Drain Commission, while the primary pipeline is connected to the Great Lakes Water Authority delivery system. They both use Lake Huron as the water source.

The process was originally scheduled to begin about two weeks ago, but was delayed until Aug. 26, “due to minor valve work and calibration,” that was needed on the secondary water pipeline, according to a press release from the city. 

Now that those things have been taken care of, the City’s water delivery system has moved to being 95% from GLWA, and 5% from GCDC. Over the course of at least four weeks, the percentage of GCDC will increase to 25%, then 50%, then 75%, and eventually 100%. 

According to a press release from the City, safeguards “will be in place to initiate a full return to water from the current GLWA line within 24 hours in the event of an unanticipated water quality issue.”

Water monitoring will take place during the incremental increase process, and the results will be posted on the EPA’s “Taking Action on Flint Water” website. The last GCDC water monitoring update is from Aug. 26, when the process started. 

Once 100% of the water is flowing through the secondary water pipeline, the repairs on the primary system’s valves will take place. According to a press release from the City, the repairs will also include “automating and modernizing the primary water pipeline system equipment.”

Once the repair work is complete, the city will go back to using 5% GCDC and 95% GLWA, and stay there, said the City’s Director of Communications Melissa Brown. Brown said the city “will always have 5% of the water with GCDC to make sure the line stays ready in case of an emergency.”

During a special Flint City Council meeting on Aug. 13, the Director of the Department of Public Works Michael Brown said the project was expected to be completed in December.

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...