Michigan received serious backlash when the Flint water system became contaminated due to lead and several other toxins. The contamination happened as the city switched its water sources to cut down the cost. The effort was taken by Barack Obama in the May of 2016 when he wanted Congress to grant emergency funds for the city. The Flint water system had an estimated repair cost of $100 million. In December, the water infrastructure legislation was passed by the Congress, and it cleared the road for the grant.
The lead contamination has affected the water supply in deeper ways. The residents of Flint have been trying hard to get the water system to function properly. The mishap happened when the water supply was changed to Flint River from Lake Huron in 2015. The authorities applied wrong standards for purification of drinking water which ended up corroding the pipes. It is the responsibility of the EPA to ensure that the crisis is addressed properly by the local and state agencies. The citizens, distraught by the incompetence of the EPA sued the agency for $722 million.
With the new grant, Flint will work on replacing lead service lines and repairing several infrastructure components to eliminate and prevent water contamination in the future. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has now provided grants for the water system repair. Scott Pruitt, the administrator of EPA, welcomed this decision as he emphasized that improving water structure all throughout America is important. To match the funds provided by EPA, the Michigan state has also contributed $20 million, making the total to $120 million.
Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan, welcomed the fund allotment. The federal government has already allocated $250 million, and the additional funds will keep the project afloat. Karen Weaver, Mayor of Flint also expressed gratitude for the efforts taken by the government to help the city during its needy times.
The federal aid will be provided to the state regarding Drinking Water revolving fund. $51.5 million will be released in the first phase, and Flint will use it for replacing lead service lines. The funding will also be used to study corrosion control and implement main distribution improvements. The remaining $68.5 million of the $120 million will be held back by the EPA until the state performs needed technical reviews and obtain comments. About $10 million will be used to replace water meters and upgrade water treatment plan. The citizens of Flint will finally be able to repair the water system infrastructure.
This announcement was made just a day after the Trump administration released its budget proposal cutting the EPA funds by 31%. The new budget proposal will stop the funding for Great Lakes cleanup which is one of the important efforts of environmentalists. Experts worry that it will affect some states because the pollution sites like the St. Louis River has contaminated sediments from the early 1900s. Essentially, the increased cleanup cost will increase the water treatment costs, and the public has to face the brunt.