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EPA wants specific water treatment plans for Flint's future switch to KWA

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency is giving the city of Flint and the state of Michigan until early next year to get its plans in place for switching to the KWA water pipeline.

Eventually, the city of Flint’s tap water will come from the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline. But the EPA says there are a few things that have to happen first.   

Mistakes made the last time Flint tried treating its own drinking damaged pipes with leached lead into the tap water. 

“Given the harmful effects of the source water switch in April of 2014, it is critical that any future changes in source water for the City be properly planned,” writes Robert Kaplan, EPA Region 5 administrator, in a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder and Mayor Karen Weaver.

In an amendment to the EPA’s Emergency Order issued last January, the agency outlines what needs to be done going forward. 

In order to avoid problems this time, the EPA says it wants to see the city’s plans for upgrades to its water plant, specific water treatment plans and building a three-mile pipeline connecting the city to the new KWA pipeline.     The EPA has set deadlines in February and March to get the information.

In addition, the city of Flint will have to undergo “a performance period” of several months in order to demonstrate that it can “ensure safe drinking water” before it transitions from its current Detroit water source to the KWA.  

“We don’t want to repeat the mistakes that led to this water crisis,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said in a written statement. 

If everything comes together, Flint could switch to the KWA pipeline next fall.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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