Addressing Flint’s Water Concerns: Water System Questions & Answers and Related Documents.

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Added Below on 2.19.2015: Current Drinking Water Standards of the U.S. EPA and the Veolia Interim Report Presentation to the Public Works Committee

Added Below on 2.18.2015: Updated Water System FAQ

Added Below on 2.17.2015: January 2015 Water Quality Report Summary. 

The City of Flint will be periodically releasing information such as monthly operation reports and water quality summaries to keep the public appraised of the status of drinking water in Flint as they become available. 

Documents listed below. Keep checking back for updated information.

Addressing Flint’s Water Concerns

Recent events have raised concerns among many as to the safety and quality of the water provided by the City’s utility system. The City is and continues to be committed to assuring that residents and visitors know that the water is safe and that those responsible for providing water are working every day to improve the quality of the water. The quality of the water does need improvement, but that is not to be confused with safety of the water. The recent notice by MDEQ clearly stated that the water provided by the utility system is safe to drink, but cautioned that some vulnerable groups may want to consult with their health care provider if they have concerns. The City remains committed to their efforts to assure that the water is safe for everyone and that quality is both improved and improving.

To date, the City has taken the following actions:

  • As an integral part of the transition to the Flint River on a temporary basis, the MDEQ was consulted about the City’s plans, and ultimately issued necessary permits to proceed. The City also engaged the services of the LAN engineering firm to guide the city in installing the necessary equipment to treat the water on an ongoing basis. This resulted in the development of a comprehensive drinking water plan.
  • The City monitors its water quality on a daily basis to assure that water quality remains within established guidelines. With the variances in water temperature and the leakage and infiltration problems arising as the result of failure of parts of the distribution system, water quality did exceed, for a time, some of the established guidelines. This resulted in the issuance of the recent notices to the public. Upon receipt of information that some guidelines were exceeded, the City’s priority focus was to bring water quality back within guidelines. Efforts taken to address non-compliance included increasing water flow through valve replacements and hydrant flushing and optimizing treatment processes.
  • The City has committed to increasing communication with the public in order to inform water users factually of the issues which have arisen, to alleviate unnecessary concern and to identify the steps being taken to address the issues. This is being implemented through detailed and easy to understand educational materials being made available both online and at City Hall, as well as through ongoing public informational meetings.
  • Most recently, in light of recent concerns raised by resident groups over the quality and safety of water, Department of Public Works Director Howard Croft and his staff collected questions from citizens during a recent public meeting. After reviewing these questions, DPW Director Croft and his staff set out to answer them in concise detail; the result of that work is a full Water System Questions and Answers document is available online.  Along with the detailed information within, the document also contains links to other source documents and regulatory statutes found online which were used as reference. “We want the residents, businesses and visitors of Flint to know that the water in Flint is safe and that we are working every day to make improvements to our system to ensure that,” said Croft. “Our goal is make sure we get people the information on our efforts and assure them that we are on the right track with them.” More documentation, including regular water quality monitoring reports, will be made available.
  • Additionally, a number of public meetings have and will continue to take place. Two of the most recent of these took place at the Antioch Baptist Church and the Mott Community College Regional Technology Center.  These meetings were held by concerned neighborhood groups and were attended by Mayor Walling and DPW Director Croft.  At both meetings, citizens voiced their concerns and asked questions about water quality and the recent violation notice. Director Croft offered detailed answers to common questions, but also offered to investigate specific water issues raised by residents in which the City could offer assistance. Those in attendance came away with a better understanding of the issues surrounding the drinking water in their community.
  • The City of Flint will be hosting a water presentation on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 7pm. That presentation will be held in the City Hall Dome and will feature information detailing water treatment, water distribution and the steps being taken to ensure that citizens get water that meets all regulatory safety and quality standards. City DPW Director Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson, Utilities Administrator, will be joined on a panel by representatives from the Genesee County Drain Commissioner’s office, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and LAN engineering. Written questions from the audience will be collected during the presentation and answered by the panel after the presentation.
  • The City of Flint has also determined that in light of the serious concerns raised, it will secure the services of an external firm with expertise in managing drinking water quality to assess the steps that the city has taken, to make recommendations as to other steps to be taken, to oversee their implementation, and to monitor operations until the City’s water source becomes the KWA. A Request for Proposal was issued on January 15, 2015, with proposals due back on January 26.

The DWSD Question:

As a result of the concerns raised, several community members have suggested that the City reconnect to the Detroit Water and Sewer Department (DWSD). DWSD has advised that they would be willing to allow such a reconnection without a hook-up fee. However, the City would be obligated to pay a fixed monthly charge of $846,700 plus the $14.92/Mcf cost of water itself and agree to a long term arrangement.  The City’s analysis of the DWSD proposal concludes that the City’s cost would increase by more than $12 million per year at the proposed rates, and could increase even more as proposed rates are subject to change after July 1, 2015. This increase in costs would not be in the best interests of the City or its water users, as the City is committed to assuring safety and improving water quality by following its current plan, and reconnecting to DWSD  would likely require deferment of existing capital improvements or an additional increase in rates.

The attached document contains questions presented to the City of Flint by concerned residents and the concise and detailed answers to them provided by our Department of Public Works.

CoF Water System Q&A

Water Sysytem FAQ Update 2-16-15

If you are curious about what our water testing looks for, here is a list of the 116 items the EPA guidelines mandate for testing and the Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) for each:

U.S. EPA Drinking Water Standards

The following documents are referenced within the above Questions and Answers report. Keep checking the website for more information as it becomes available.

Veolia Interim Report to Public Works Committee

January 2015 Water Quality Report Summary

CoF WTP Monthly Operation Report 

CoF Water Quality Report Summary Dec. 2014

Revised-Public-Notification-Handbook-CWS

Operational Evaluation Report

City of Flint Violation Notice – MCL TTHM 12_16_14

Approved Construction Permits

EPA 141.165 Chlorination Guidlines

TTHM Level Chart _ 2014 

Request for Proposal: Water Quality Consultant 

Public Water Presentation 1.21.2015

 

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Kristin Moore

About the Author:

Kristin Moore is the Public Information/Communications Director for the City of Flint. She spent years working as a TV news reporter and anchor in and outside of Michigan. A Flint native, Kristin is excited to now be part of the team working to move Flint forward!
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