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Flint's water source to undergo a temporary change this month

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A temporary switch is on tap for Flint’s drinking water source.

The pipeline that brings water to Flint from the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) is in need of some valve repairs. So the city of Flint will be transitioning to its backup water source, the Genesee County Drain Commission (GCDC).

The last time the city switched its water source in 2014 improperly treated water from the Flint River damaged pipes and created the city’s water crisis. The latest data show samples of Flint water with lead levels of three parts per billion. During the water crisis, the number was six times higher.  

This time around the water is being treated at the county’s new water plant, which is connected to Karegnondi water system. 

Both GLWA and GCDC get their water from Lake Huron. 

Flint Public Works Director Mike Brown says federal, state and local personnel will be reviewing all sampling data during the transition as a precaution to make sure there are not any problems. The blending of the two sources will take about four weeks.

Once the city is 100% on GCDC water, repair work will begin on valves in the GLWA pipeline. That work should take about six weeks.

After that, Flint will go back to getting its drinking water from GLWA. But a small amount of water will continue to flow from GCDC into Flint’s water system.

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.