Flint, MI– Supply chain issues are delaying progress on the city’s water infrastructure projects until January 2022, officials say. 

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 and complete repairs on the primary pipeline. 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.

Two weeks ago, the city moved back to a 50/50 usage of the primary and secondary water pipelines due to delays in getting the components needed to complete repair work. 

On Dec. 29, city officials announced that it is still experiencing issues in acquiring the materials they need, and estimated work on the project will be delayed until at least the end of January. 

Having a secondary pipeline is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be used in case of an emergency.

For the first phase of the project, 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%. 

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.”

As a result of that delay, the city, in consultation with EGLE and the EPA decided to return to Phase III (50% GCDC and 50% GLWA) on Dec. 13. 

On Dec. 29, the city announced that supply chain issues “have impacted progress on the fabrication of flange adapters needed to use the 36-inch valves on Control Station #2.” 

Replacing the valves on Control Station #2 is one of four major water infrastructure projects the city is working on. For this project, valve replacements would “better meet the needs of the city’s population by improving the flow of water coming in from” the primary pipeline, according to a release from the city. 

Contractors for this project will now “tentatively mobilize” on Jan. 17, and Jan. 21.

This, in turn, delays the next incremental water increase to 100% GCDC to at least the end of Jan. 2022, according to the city’s press release from Dec. 29. 

Once all phases of the project are completed, the city plans to 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...

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