The City of Flint is proceeding with a series of actions to ensure the continued safety of Flint drinking water is maintained and that issues of discoloration and odor continue to be addressed. Most notably, the installation of a Granulated Active Charcoal filter (GAC) at the Water Treatment Plant is expected to be authorized this week by Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose.
The introduction of the GAC to the treatment process at Flint’s plant will absorb or reduce the chemical precursors which will block or eliminate the formation of TTHM during the filtration process. Engineering and design are underway and installation of the GAC is targeted for completion by mid-July. Cost of this improvement is projected at $1.5 million and will be paid for by the proceeds from the state approved restructuring of the City’s Drinking Water Revolving Fund loans.
In addition to the installation of the GAC, the City of Flint is undertaking a number of other improvements to the water system in the coming months, including a water leak detection monitoring, completion of the hydraulic model and subsequent targeted hydrant flushing program, and the replacement of two miles of water main pipe in a critical area of the city. All of these improvements scheduled to occur within the next six months.
“The replacement of this two mile section of pipe along Dupont Street has been identified by a water reliability study as a significant piece of infrastructure and will greatly improve the movement of water in that area of the city,” said Dept. of Public Works Director Howard Croft. Increasing the circulation of the water in the system will immediately result in improvements in water aesthetics, such as discoloration and odor. The MDEQ has given its approval to the project and the process of bidding for construction will begin next week. Construction will take place during the summer of this year.
Ongoing repairs and maintenance also continue to improve the health of the system. To date, about 200 water main breaks have been repaired this year. Whenever major work that may disrupt service is scheduled, the City works to notify residents in the affected area with signage and with posts to cityofflint.com. Updates will include the area of work and the estimated time of completion.
Each main break repair stirs sediments in the line. “Residents should know that there is a chance of discoloration or odor any time work is being done on a main in their area,” said Croft. “This is nothing to be alarmed about and it doesn’t mean the water is unsafe.” If discoloration of water or odor occurs due to repairs, residents are reminded that running the water for a few minutes should clear the line. Anyone with water questions should call 810-787-6537.
The City of Flint remains committed to addressing water related issues. Along with maintaining the safety of the water, addressing quality and affordability are top priorities. The steps outlined above are indicators of the City’s progress in addressing the most pressing concerns surrounding water. Emergency Manager Ambrose reiterated that development of a contract with DWSD was not going to happen.
“Those advocating for a return to DWSD do not want to recognize the financial realities of such a move. Not only would such a move increase the City’s costs by more than $1million per month, but the water from Detroit is no safer than Flint water, as both entities are measured by the same MDEQ standards that have been in place for years. Why anyone would want to send a million dollars a month to DWSD rather than make necessary repairs to the City’s own system is beyond me.”
Further updates on the progress being made to improve Flint’s water system will released in regular updates to the media and in updates here on the City’s website. Anyone wishing to report an issue can do so under “Online Services”. Anyone with questions about these or any other water issues should call the water treatment plant at 810-787-6537.