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Flint's $20 million in water loans forgiven

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A major obstacle to Flint’s recovery from its drinking water crisis has been removed.

The city of Flint has been hobbled in its efforts to remain on its aging water system by its inability to repay more than $20 million borrowed from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF).  

The DWRF is a federal financial assistance program to help water systems and states to achieve the health protection in accordance to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is a partnership between the EPA and states.

The city borrowed the money in the past to make repairs, but has been unable to pay it back. The outstanding debt was from four DWRF loans that originated between 1999 and 2003, and used for upgrades and improvements to Flint’s water treatment plant.

But now, the state Treasury Department announced the unpaid balance will be forgiven.

“This loan forgiveness will help provide some financial relief and stability for the city of Flint,” said C. Heidi Grether, director of the DEQ. “The department will continue to coordinate with the city to address critical water and infrastructure needs.” 

A law signed by President Obama made the loan forgiveness possible. The bill also included more than $100 million for Flint’s recovery. President Trump signed the final piece of authorizing legislation back in May.   

"The people and the City of Flint continue to deal with the effects of the water crisis emotionally, physically, and financially," says Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, "I am thankful for the state officials who continue to try and help make the city whole as we work to transition from crisis to recovery." 

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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