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Flint City Council approves money for switch back to Detroit water

Oct 12, 2015

The city of Flint is a small step closer to switching its drinking water back to Detroit.

Flint's water plant is moving closer to processing water from Detroit.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tonight the Flint city council unanimously voted to spend $2 million to return to Detroit’s water system.

Appropriately, the vote that is an answer to the prayers of many Flint residents, was punctuated by City Councilman Eric Mays saying “amen,” which drew murmurs of “amen” from the audience.

In the year and a half since Flint switched its tap water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River, the city’s water system has been plagued with problems, from discoloration to high lead levels.

Experts say switching back to Detroit's system won’t solve all Flint’s water issues, but they say it will help. 

Last night’s city council vote isn’t the end of the process. It’s really just the beginning.   

The $2 million appropriation must still be approved by the city’s state oversight board and the state treasury department. Both are expected to give their blessing.     

The state and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundations are chipping in another $10 million to pay for Flint to get water from Detroit until next June. 

After that, Flint leaders hope the city’s tap water will come from a new pipeline being built from Lake Huron.