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City of Flint nears switch to secondary drinking source, as repairs to primary water pipeline draw near

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Repair work will get underway soon on the pipeline that carries the city of Flint’s drinking water.

Before repair work could begin, the city of Flint needed to switch from its primary water source, the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), to its secondary source, the Genesee County Drain Commission.

Starting last August, the percentage of water coming from Genesee County has risen, while the amount coming from GLWA has declined. By the end of the week, 100% of Flint’s tap water should be coming from the county.

The process has been slowed by issues with obtaining the needed equipment to make repairs to the pipeline.

But city officials expect it will take about a month to replace valves and modernize other equipment. After which, Flint’s water source will slowly revert to GLWA.

Flint has been getting its drinking from GLWA since the fall of 2015, after the ill-fated decision to switch the city’s water source to the Flint River. Improperly treated river water damaged pipes, releasing lead and other contaminants into Flint’s drinking water. Tens of thousands of Flint residents have applied for a share of a $626 million settlement of damage claims against the state of Michigan, city of Flint and two local businesses.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.