Flint Will Receive $77 Million In Loans To Help Resolve 5-Year Water Crisis
Is there hope in Flint?
Flint is getting $77 million in loan assistance to help rebuild the city's corroded water system.
The ongoing water crisis in the Michigan city has ravaged the lives of thousands for nearly five years. According to The Associated Press, the new funds were first disclosed in 2017 and are without interest and will be forgiven in their entirety, meaning the money will basically operate as a grant.
Two years ago, the $77 million was promised for infrastructure improvements that would provide clean tap water to citizens. Many of the residents in Flint have relied on bottled water to avoid illnesses stemming from the lead-tainted water tap. Everyday activities like cooking or cleaning could only be done with the use of bottled water.
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The money would be used to rebuild and fund more water projects around the city. ABC 12 reports the funds would create a new pipeline hooking up to a secondary water source, improve local reservoirs and a pump station and be used to build a new chemical feed building.
Among the other planned projects, the funds would be used to replace water mains, water meters and water quality monitoring panels.
Flint along with two other cities in Michigan are the recipients of $140 million in loans from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Other less publicized cities are also in desperate need of new water and sewer projects.
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"These projects will help the short and long term sustainability of the water system in the city of Flint," Flint's Director of Public Works Rob Bincsik told The Flint Journal. "But as stated in the Water Distribution Optimization Plan, the water system needs in excess of another $300 million in capital improvements over the next 20 years."
Starting in 2014, the city government changed Flint's water source from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River. Outdated water piping and the water from the Flint River caused the water supply to be lead-contaminated.
Thousands of children were affected by the health issues stemming from the water. There was a Legionnaires Disease outbreak responsible for killing 12 people with 15 high-ranking officials indicted on criminal charges.
In the years since the start of the Flint water crisis, experts have called it a textbook example of environmental racism.
Although the water has improved, citizens are not comfortable drinking the city's tap water just yet.
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