FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Flint will get water from the Karegnondi Water Authority as soon as that system is ready, the mayor said Tuesday, even though she had threatened to break an agreement to join the system in the aftermath of the Michigan city’s lead-tainted water crisis.
Mayor Karen Weaver said Flint’s contract with the water authority would be difficult to break. She earlier said she wouldn’t rule out staying with the Detroit’s regional water system, regardless of the agreement with Karegnondi. Flint’s supply was switched from Detroit water to the Flint River as a cost-cutting measure in 2014, but the water was not properly treated and that resulted in the corrosion of lead pipes.
Weaver said the city has negotiated with state and Genesee County officials about how to pay for a 3-mile-long pipeline that’s needed as part of the project. The county will pay for preconstruction engineering and the state will share the cost of the connection with the city.
There also have been discussions about giving Flint more representation on the board that governs the Karegnondi Water Authority, Weaver said.
“I’m not excited about this, but I think working toward these changes gives us greater influence than what we had before and it will allow us to move forward knowing that we have people at the table making decisions for Flint who are truly invested in the city and who want what’s best for the citizens of Flint,” she said.
Gov. Rick Snyder, who was on hand for the announcement, said the 3-mile pipeline likely will cost about $7 million and that the state will provide about $4.2 million of the cost through grants. He said he appreciates the collaboration that aims to provide a “good, safe water supply for city of Flint.”
The switch to Flint River water was done as a cost-saving measure in anticipation of eventually going with Karegnondi when it starts taking water from Lake Huron. Flint switched back to Detroit water temporarily last fall after the problems with lead became apparent.