Michigan State University

#Flint: EPA Awards $100,000,000 for Water-Crisis Recovery as City to Begin Shutoffs for Nonpayment of Water Bills

Jon Harrison
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More than 1,000 days after Flint, Mich.’s water crisis started, relief in the form of a $100 million grant is on the way to help the city fix its water system. That relief comes just as the city announces plans to begin shutting off water service for some who have been unable to pay their bills.

As previously reported on The Root, Congress approved the $100 million in aid for the city of Flint last year, but as Michigan Radio reports, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt did not formally approve the grant until this week.

“The people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government,” Pruitt said in a written statement. “EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America’s water infrastructure.”

The water troubles in Flint began in 2014 when, as a cost-cutting measure, the city’s water source was switched from Detroit to the Flint River. The highly corrosive water was not properly treated, and it caused lead from the city’s pipes to leach into the water system. Even as officials continue to tout the city’s water system as improved and claim that the lead levels are below the federal threshold, residents of the city are still being told not to use water from the tap without a proper filter.

The EPA money will not go directly to Flint but will instead pass through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

From Michigan Radio:

About half the money is earmarked for replacing aging lead pipes, improving corrosion controls and other water system improvements.

The money will help pay for upgrading Flint’s water system so that it will be able to switch to the KWA pipeline, but that process is expected to take years. The city’s water plant is not expected to be ready to treat water from Lake Huron until late 2019 or 2020.

Meanwhile, as the federal funding works its way through the bureaucratic red tape to finally provide Flint residents with the help they need to finally have clean water after nearly three years of going without, the city has announced that it will begin shutting off water service to delinquent residential customers who have been unable to pay for the unusable water.

According to Michigan Radio, the city plans to shut off water service next month for two apartment complexes as well as 18 other residential customers who are delinquent on their water and sewer bills.

For the full article, see Monique Judge, "#Flint: EPA Awards $100,000,000 for Water-Crisis Recovery as City to Begin Shutoffs for Nonpayment of Water Bills", The Root, March 20, 2017.

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