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Flint, MI– On April 25, the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the Flint water crisis, Mayor Sheldon Neeley announced that a $17 million water infrastructure project has been completed.
“The City of Flint is excited to announce the completion of the secondary water pipeline project. This system will ensure the City of Flint has a backup water source in case of an emergency. We are continuing to move our community forward in a positive direction,” Neeley said in a press release.“The secondary water pipeline is another step toward rebuilding trust in our community; I am extremely proud of the progress we’ve made.”
Having a second pipeline is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be used in case of an emergency. Now, Flint has the primary pipeline connected to the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), and a secondary pipeline connected to the Genesee County Drain Commission (GCDC).
According to the press release, the GCDC will serve as “an emergency backup in case service from GLWA is ever disrupted.” Although these are two different connections, both GCDC and GLWA source their water from Lake Huron.
In August of 2021, the city began incrementally increasing the usage of the secondary pipeline in order to test it and complete repairs on the primary pipeline. While increasing GCDC usage, the city also incrementally decreased GLWA usage.
Once the city was primarily using the secondary pipeline, repair work, including valve replacement and modernizing equipment was completed on the primary pipeline.
Once the repair work was completed, the city began incrementally increasing the use of the primary pipeline again and decreasing the use of the secondary pipeline.
On April 20, the city moved to what will be the “long-term blend” of 95% GLWA, and 5% GCDC. According to a city press release from April 18, the 95/5 blend is to “keep the water, pipes, valves and other hardware in the secondary pipeline fresh and ready to use in an emergency.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has been collecting water samples since the project began. Residents can view the water monitoring data on the State of Michigan’s website at www.michigan.gov/flintwater.
Other water infrastructure projects have been completed in the last year too, including a new Chemical Feed System, a facility responsible for “providing essential chemicals” to water from both of the city’s water sources to “ensure water is treated safely and effectively.”
Water main replacements have also been completed at Atherton Rd. and Dupont Rd. and Court Street, the press release states.