Flint, MI– It’s been three weeks since Flint began using water from the secondary water supply pipeline.

According to a press release from the city on Sept. 16, officials had planned to begin incrementally increasing the use of the secondary pipeline this week, but it’s been postponed to allow time to secure permits and complete necessary repairs. 

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. It 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.

Since the secondary pipeline has been completed, the city is required to test it. In order to do that, and also complete valve repairs on the primary pipeline, the City will be gradually incorporating more and more water from the secondary pipeline.

The process started on Aug. 26, and at this point, the city is still using 95% GLWA, and 5% GCDC. Phase 2 of the incremental water increase will raise the GCDC to 25%, and lower GLWA to 75%. 

While phase 2 was supposed to start the week of Sept. 12, it’s been “postponed a week at minimum, due to a delay in securing required permits to conduct electrical work relating to the Frances Road construction project,” according to the release. 

It has also been determined that “the pipe settling on the secondary water pipeline requires repair from pressure caused by equipment.” The city expects to complete securing the permit, conducting an inspection, and repairing the pipe settling by “mid-next week.”

According to the release, the city expects the current water increments to “remain stable as additional work is completed.” 

After phase 2 is completed, the percentage of GCDC will continue to gradually increase to 50%, then 75%, and eventually 100%. 

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 on Aug. 13, 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.”

To view the results of water monitoring during this process, you can visit 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...