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KWA Pipeline

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County plans to build a new section of pipeline, which will allow Flint to continue getting its tap water from Detroit while the county makes the switch to it's newly constructed KWA pipeline.

Flint’s reliance on drinking water from the Great Lakes Water Authority, or GLWA, has prevented Genesee County from pumping drinking water tapping the recently completed Karegnondi Water Authority, or KWA, pipeline from Lake Huron.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Preparing Flint’s water plant to treat water from a new Lake Huron pipeline will take a few years.

Problems at the water plant helped to create Flint’s current troubles with lead-tainted tap water. 

JoLisa McDay, Flint’s interim utilities director, told a town hall meeting Wednesday that it’s about more than buying new equipment. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has given Flint permission to build an approximately three mile section of water pipeline to link the city to the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline to Lake Huron.

The Flint segment of pipeline will supply raw lake water from the KWA pipeline to Flint's water treatment plant.

According to Bryce Feighner, chief of the MDEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Radiological Protection, this is an important step for Flint.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency is giving the city of Flint and the state of Michigan until early next year to get its plans in place for switching to the KWA water pipeline.

Eventually, the city of Flint’s tap water will come from the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline. But the EPA says there are a few things that have to happen first.   

Mistakes made the last time Flint tried treating its own drinking damaged pipes with leached lead into the tap water. 

The last pipes for the KWA were laid earlier earlier this year.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Federal, state, and Flint officials sat down behind closed doors at city hall on Monday to discuss ways to respond to questions about the city’s planned switch to a new water source.

Possibly next year, the city will connect with the recently completed Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline.   The city is committed to switching to the KWA pipeline as its new primary source of drinking water. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After months of wrangling, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is reluctantly agreeing to hook the city up to the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline for the city's drinking water.

Emergency managers made the decision to switch Flint’s drinking water to the KWA pipeline as a way to save money. Flint's city council gave its stamp of approval as well. But Flint’s new elected leaders wanted out of the deal because of the cost.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Construction of the KWA water pipeline is just a few months of good weather away from being complete.

On Friday, an excavator was digging a trench along a lonely stretch of road near Lapeer. One by one, 60-inch diameter pipes are dropped in the hole and the link to Lake Huron is extended.  

The 74-mile long pipeline will stretch from the shore of the lake to Genesee County.  There are less than eight miles of pipeline left to lay.

Jeff Wright is the Genesee County Drain Commissioner, as well as the chief executive officer of the Karegnondi Water Authority. 

Flint water plant manager Jolisa McDay in red sweater in front of microphones
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is taking steps to deal with a key staffing issue in its drinking water crisis.

Federal regulators have criticized Flint officials for not hiring more people to operate the city’s water plant.  The EPA says the city needs more professionals to ensure it stays in compliance with federal regulations. 

The city’s new water plant supervisor started work this week. 

Jolisa McDay has 15 years experience.  She sees Flint’s system as a “challenge”.

“I’m diligently working to be sure that we have all that we need,” says McDay.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Governor’s Flint water crisis task force is recommending a new investigation into the KWA pipeline project.

Flint’s emergency manager agreed to the switch in 2013 to save money. 

Task Force Co-Chair Ken Sikkema says there are questions about the pipeline project that prompted Flint to turn off the tap from Detroit.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has dismissed a request for an injunction to force the city of Flint to return to Detroit's water system.

U.S. District Judge Judge Stephen J. Murphy III turned down the request today.

“The Court is unable to determine the Coalition’s legal theory, or even whether the Court has the power to grant the requested relief,” wrote Murphy in his opinion. 

On April 25, 2014, Flint officials toasted each other as they flipped the switch to the Flint River.
WNEM-TV

 

 

Saturday marks the first anniversary of the city of Flint’s switch from Detroit water to the Flint River. It has not been an easy transition.  

 

“Here’s to Flint," Mayor Dayne Walling said as he raised a glass of water during a small ceremony at Flint’s water plant last April.  

 

FLICKR USER SARRAZAK6881 / FLICKR

Coliform bacteria and boil-water alerts, rashes on kids, and water that tastes and smells horrible are some of the side effects associated with Flint’s decision to disconnect from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and switch to the Flint River while it transitions to a new system.

Conditions in Flint grew so terrible that environmental activist Erin Brockovich caught wind of the situation and turned her team’s attention towards Michigan.

The cause of this water crisis? Money.