Friday, October 9, 2015

City of Flint Set to Return to DWSD for its Drinking Water, at least Temporarily (UPDATED)

On October 8, 2015, nearly 18 months after ending its 50 year relationship with Detroit, the City of Flint has decided to resume buying its drinking water from the DWSD system after encountering a myriad of problems with its source water, the Flint River.

The problems the Flint encountered with drawing water from the Flint River have ranged from taste, foul odor, and most recently, high levels of lead. The increase in lead levels is thought to be caused by corrosive elements in the Flint River. The finding of elevated lead levels in the blood of Flint children was the last straw, and compelled local and state leaders to support a return to DWSD. 

The issues concerning Flint's water problems are well documented in the, which is a website published and maintained by Virginia Tech researchers who are involved in studying Flint's drinking water. The Flint Journal has also followed this issue very closely.

Flint's return to DWSD is expected to take 2 weeks to complete. However, this will only be a temporary measure as Flint is committed to joining the Karegnondi Water Authroty (KWA), which is still constructing its new 63 mile raw water intake pipe. KWA's pipeline project is slated for completion in mid-2016. Once completed, Flint will receive raw water from Lake Huron, which it still must process through its own water treatment plant. Water from DWSD is already purified potable (drinking) water.  

Update (10/11): The Detroit Free Press has a very comprehensive article about Flint water woes and how better advanced planning and testing might have averted the current crisis.

Update (10/14): A copy of the water licensing agreement between the City of Flint and Genesee County Drain Commissioner can be found here. This agreement was required because after Flint terminated its contract with DWSD, it sold off a segment of water main to Genesee County.

For more about DWSD Update, click here.

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