Flint, MI– The city will be returning to a 50/50 usage of the primary and secondary water pipelines next week. 

On Dec. 10, the city announced that supply chain issues have delayed them from entering the final phase of this water infrastructure project, and using solely the secondary water pipeline as planned, again. 

Having a secondary pipeline–Flint’s was completed recently– is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be used in case of an emergency.

Since August, the city has been incrementally increasing the usage of the secondary pipeline, which is connected to the Genesee County Drain Commission delivery system, in order to test it. While increasing GCDC usage, the city has also been incrementally decreasing the usage of the primary pipeline, which is connected to the Great Lakes Water Authority.

Though the delivery systems are different, both pipelines use Lake Huron as the water source.

For the first phase of the project, which began in August, Flint began using 5% of water from GCDC, and 95% of water from GLWA. 

On Sept. 30, the city bumped GCDC usage up to 25%, and lowered GLWA usage to 75%. The third phase began on Oct. 11, increasing GCDC usage to 50%, and lowering GLWA usage to 50%.

On Oct. 26, the city increased GCDC usage to 75% and lowered GLWA usage to 25%, which is what the water blend is currently. 

The final phase of temporarily switching 100% to the secondary water source was planned for the week of Nov. 25, but was first postponed so the city could “complete start-up and training of facilities at the new Chemical Feed Building,” according to a press release from the city on Nov. 22.

On Dec. 10, the city announced that the final phase has been delayed again as “supply chain issues have impacted the delivery of components required for the chemical feed building.”

Until those components are delivered, the city, in consultation with EGLE and the EPA decided to return to Phase III (50% GCDC and 50% GLWA) on Monday, Dec. 13. 

According to the press release, this change in the timeline will also delay other infrastructure upgrades until approximately early January 2022. 

In the meantime, the city will make additional “technical modifications” to the infrastructure to “better ensure operational reliability.” 

Once all phases of the project are completed, the city will go back to using 5% GCDC and 95% GLWA. The city will continue to use 5% of the water from GCDC to ensure the line stays ready in case of an emergency.

Residents can view the water monitoring data on the State of Michigan’s website at www.michigan.gov/flintwater.

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...