Flint mayor to make recommendation on city's water source

Flint mayor to make recommendation on city's water source

Flint and Genesee County communities split off from Detroit's water system in 2014 to build the KWA pipeline in a bid to become independent of Detroit's water system, which was spun off into the new Great Lakes Water Authority in Detroit's 2014 bankruptcy restructuring. However, they did not properly treat the Flint River water, resulting in lead leeching into residents' drinking water supply.

Karen Weaver's announcement Tuesday is a reversal.

According to a report from NBC News, "Flint's mayor is poised to make a recommendation on where the MI city should get its drinking water on the long term".

That, and Flint needs more time before its own treatment plant can handle the KWA water.

She said past year that the city of about 100,000 residents would stick with a plan to ultimately draw from a new pipeline that is being built to Lake Huron.

This crisis began in 2014 when city officials made a decision to switch from GLWA to the Flint River to allegedly save money. Avoiding change would work towards protecting residents from any "anxieties" or "fears" that may come from a switch, Weaver said.

In a statement, Weaver said the decision was based on a number of factors, including public health and fiscal responsibility. Experts also suspect that a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak was tied to the water. The city decided in late 2015 to return to the Detroit system while deciding on its next drinking water source.

She said a year ago that the city of 100,000 residents would stick with a plan to draw from a pipeline to Lake Huron that is still under construction.

A dozen options were explored, and Weaver said staying with the Detroit-area system under a new 30-year contract and using the local county as a backup would be the cheapest, costing $269 million over 20 years and keeping already-high customer bills in check. But the river water was not treated to reduce corrosion. The savings could be used as part of a $177 million update of the city's aging and deteriorating distribution system, including fixing leaky water mains and replacing 18,000 lead service lines, said David Sabuda, Flint's interim chief financial officer.

Staying with the GLWA also keeps the city from having to switch its water supply, which is finally meeting federal water quality levels.