CNN reports that Flint Mayor Karen Weaver wrote to EPA officials earlier this week, saying: “To expedite completion of the project and minimize cost, a design/build project delivery method is proposed. Based on this approach, an August 2019 completion date is anticipated for the treatment plant improvements.”
Flint’s water problems began in 2014, when the city’s water source was switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River, which, according to researchers from Virginia Tech, is 19 times more corrosive. The corrosive water caused lead from the pipes to leach into the city’s drinking-water supply.
The EPA intervened in 2016, following studies that revealed dangerous levels of lead in the city’s drinking water and a class-action lawsuit alleging that the Department of Environmental Quality wasn’t treating the Flint River with an anti-corrosive agent.
The EPA enacted a Safe Drinking Water Emergency Order, which allowed it to more closely monitor and control the state and local response efforts in Flint. These efforts include rerouting the water supply, replacing corroded water pipes and distributing bottled water and filters.
The EPA’s oversight requires that Weaver keeps the federal government abreast of developments in its plan to restore clean drinking water to the city. The federal agency has said it is still evaluating the water source alternatives and plan.
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