Flint mulling options for new water source, but switch could cost at least $25M
The City of Flint switched from the Flint River to the Great Lakes Water Authority for its drinking water source in January. The switch was always considered a temporary move until the city was able to move to the KWA when the pipeline is completed summer of 2016. However, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she is considering every option the city might have.
"We're doing our due diligence and exploring every option. Many of the decisions about our water before came when we were under emergency management. So now we need to explain to the residents why we're doing what we're doing. How this is going to help them, and who profits from our decision," Weaver says.
Documents obtained by NBC 25 / Fox 66 News show any eventual switch could cost the state or the taxpayers millions of dollars. The document which was created by officials from the State of Michigan who are working on the Flint Water Crisis provides the city with three options for a permanent and back up water source. But before a decision is made on where to get the water from, at least $25 Million will be needed.
Because the Flint River is no longer considered for a back-up water source, the City of Flint must build a large reservoir to hold at least 14 days of back up water according to E.P.A. guidelines. According to the report the cost for the project will be $25 Million. In addition, a new three mile long water pipe must be built to connect the Flint Water Treatment Plant to the KWA pipeline. The cost of that project is estimated at $9 Million.
Once those projects are complete, the report lists three potential options for the city to turn to for the new permanent and back- up water source. They are below.
If the decision to purchase treated water from the Genesee County Drain Commission is chosen. Must of the increased cost will be because the city will have to pay to have the new Genesee County Water Treatment Plant upgraded to handle the increased amount of water needed for Flint residents.
Flint City Councilman Eric Mays says the city isn't capable of paying the amount needed up front, and the city will need help in order to facilitate the new water source.
"We do not have that kind of money. As a matter of fact that last I knew we were looking at a $35 Million deficit in the Water and Sewer Fund. Primarily I'm looking at the state to help. They are the ones who caused all of these problems in the first place," Mays says.
Mayor Weaver says she expects to make a decision on issue within the next seven to ten business days.