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Flint ending Detroit water contract, DWSD looking at its options

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is dumping its contract with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Flint emergency manager Ed Kurtz signed a contract today to get the city’s water from a new pipeline that’s being built from Lake Huron to Genesee County.

Officials with Detroit's system made a final offer to try and keep Flint’s business. But Kurtz says the numbers were “unreliable.”

“After the first year…for 29 years they could raise those rates…do any kind of capital expenditures…anything they wanted to do…and just add them to our bill,” says Kurtz.

Flint represents about six percent of the Detroit system's revenue.

Jeff Wright is Genesee County’s Drain Commissioner. He says Flint residents pay about six times what customers in Oakland and Wayne Counties pay for water.

“To me, we’re subsidizing the rest of southeast Michigan and this gets us out of that game,” says Wright. 

A spokesman says the Detroit water department will have to look at its options to try and recoup investments made to Flint’s water system.

It will be at least two and half years before the new pipeline can replace the water Flint now gets from Detroit.

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.
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