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Flint meets EPA deadline to upgrade part of city water plant

Inside the Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has met an EPA deadline to upgrade equipment at the city’s water plant.

The EPA sent the city of Flint a letter one week ago saying the city had until today to install and have operational equipment to add additional chlorine and other chemicals to the city’s water supply.

Flint gets its tap water from Detroit already treated with chemicals to impede the growth of bacteria and other organisms. But chemicals, like chlorine, lose their effectiveness the longer they are in the system.  

The EPA says it may also be necessary to add more chemicals to Flint’s water as the weather gets warmer.

However, city officials pushed back.

At a news conference earlier this week, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver worried adding too many chemicals could possibly endanger progress made repairing Flint’s scarred water system. It was the breakdown of the biofilm within Flint’s aging pipes that allowed lead to leech into the city’s drinking water.

“The safety of Flint residents is our top priority,” says Weaver,  “We want to do want’s best for the people of Flint and we don’t want to repeat the mistakes made in the past.”

The city, EPA, and MDEQ have agreed to plan to add the chemicals incrementally into the water system.  

“The system was completed before noon and tested for a period of time today.  Training is now being held on the new system and the chemicals to ensure proper operation and safety of the team,” says Jolisa McDay, Flint’s interim Utilities Administrator. 

The system should be fully operational Monday.  

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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