City of Flint starting process to switch back to Detroit for drinking water

City of Flint Public Works officials are preparing for the switch back to Detroit water.

The valves of change are turning in the Public Works Department at the City of Flint in preparation for the impending switch to Detroit for water service. Public Works Director Howard Croft says the switch could happen within weeks.

"We've got to clean and disinfect a large piece of pipe which is a complicated process and needs to be done in a certain way. We're already working on that with the Department of Environmental Quality," Croft says.

The city will also need to test the water before it comes out of the plant. However, Croft says there shouldn't be any interruptions in service to customers during the transition.

While the city is moving forward, members of the Concerned Pastors for Social Justice are focusing on the past, and are asking federal authorities to launch an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the switch to Flint River water.

"The City of Flint should never be allowed to go back to Flint River water again. And whoever had anything to do with water being switch over needs to be investigated," Pastor Allen Overton says.

So will the switch back to Detroit water solve the city's lead problem? Croft says there's only one way to make sure all lead is removed from the distribution system.

"There's only one absolute solution, and that's to change all of the lead service lines, and household plumbing. 100 year old infrastructure isn't something that you can turn the corner on in one or two years," Croft says.

But he's hoping the switch will allow the city to lift the Lead Advisory.

"A number of things would have to get in place. The DEQ, EPA, and the health department will all get together and will make that decision when the time is right," Croft says.

Until then, residents are urged to continue to flush their lines for at least 30 minutes with cold water and to continue to use water filters that are certified to remove lead.

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