The Environmental Protection Agency wrote a letter to the City of Flint and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality last week urging them to spend $100 million in federal funds for water infrastructure repair.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver responded Friday that the city plans to have any requested information available to the EPA in January.
The funds, awarded March 17, 2017, along with state matching funds of $20 million, are intended to fund projects in Flint addressing lead contamination in the water. The agency noted that, as of November 16, only $192,972 of the federal funds had been spent.
Of the $100 million, $51.5 million is earmarked for lead service line replacement, water main replacement, and a corrosion control and asset management plan. Plans for the remaining $68.5 million had not been finalized. The lead service line replacement project and the corrosion control study and asset management plan have begun. The water main project has not yet been started.
According to the EPA's letter, in order to access those funds, Flint is required to follow state application procedures for drinking water state revolving funds (DWSRF). When Flint has completed the application process and it is accepted by MDEQ, the MDEQ would then need to submit an intended use plan to the EPA. The State and the City would then need to enter into financial assistance agreements.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver's office issued a statement Friday in response to the EPA's letter:
“This EPA letter was sent to reset the Consent Order requirements, now that the newly elected Flint City Council has made a decision on the City’s future water source. In selecting the Great Lakes Water Authority as the primary long-term source of water for Flint, we know that the public health concerns associated with utilizing a new water source have been minimized. This allows us to now proceed with the implementation of the required projects associated with the City's long-term water plans.
Now that this important decision has finally been approved by the new Council, we can move forward with planning our next steps which include informing the EPA of specific actions Flint will take to study, plan, design, construct and communicate the required activities associated with its future water source. We have addressed, or are in the process of addressing, all of the issues contained in the letter and expect to have the requested information to the EPA by early January.”