Flint Temporarily Turns to Secondary Waterline as Primary Water Source | Flint Water Emergency

FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) – The city of Flint was recently able to avert a water crisis thanks to a newly constructed secondary water pipeline.

The Great Lakes Water Authority is the city’s main source of water, supplying 95% of what goes through the pipes into homes and businesses. It suffered a major breach on Saturday.

The new pipeline allowed the city to quickly switch sources without any service interruptions. If the breach had happened a few months earlier, it would have been a whole different story for the city.

“The Flint River would have been the backup in ancient times. We avoided a crisis here,” said Mike Brown, director of the Flint public works department.

When the main pipeline that supplies water to the residents of Flint suffered a 10-foot-diameter rupture, the City of Flint responded quickly.

“We first shut down GLWA and went into our backup storage, then started slowly bringing GCDC water into our system,” Brown said.

Getting water from the Genesee County Drain Commission was made possible by the city’s recent completion of its new multi-million dollar water pipeline.

“That water line cost about a little over $17 million to install,” Brown said. “It took over two years to install, but it’s already proving to be a worthwhile investment.”

It serves as a backup system for use in an emergency. Unlike some other communities that were affected by the GLWA pipeline rupture, Flint did not have to go without water or boil it before use. Brown said the new pipeline is the reason.

“We don’t need a boil water advisory unless we directly have a loss of pressure in our system and it hasn’t happened,” he said.

A boil water advisory is usually issued when the water pressure drops below 20 pounds per square inch. Brown said during Saturday’s water main break on the GLWA pipeline that Flint’s water pressure never dropped below 85 pounds per square inch.

The city was able to seamlessly switch to the backup source without a single loss of water pressure anywhere in the city, according to Brown.

Flint will remain on the lateral until repairs to the main waterline are complete.

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