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EPA approves $100 million in federal funding for Flint

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FLINT, Mich. – The Environmental Protection Agency approved $100 million in federal emergency funding Friday for the city of Flint.

The EPA made $51.5 million immediately available for lead service line replacements, distribution main improvements and corrosion control. Of the $51 million, $20 million will come from the required state match and the other $31.5 million from federal funds. The remaining moneys will be provided after the city and the state complete additional public comment and technical reviews.

“Today we have good news for families in Flint who have already waited far too long for their water system to be fixed,” said Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-5th District) said in a release. “After a hard-fought victory to secure $100 million in assistance last year, the City of Flint will finally begin receiving funding to repair and replace the pipes. The people of Flint are strong and resilient, and we will continue to fight for the resources and assistance they need. It’s also past time for the State of Michigan to do everything in its power to meet its responsibilities to help the city recover from this man-made crisis.”

The moneys will be provided in supplemental emergency federal funding through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

Flint was under state control when it switched in 2014 from Detroit's water system to the Flint River to save money. The river water was not properly treated to prevent pipe corrosion and lead from old water lines leached into many homes and businesses.

Elevated levels of lead later were found in some children.

The EPA released this statement: 

“The people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America’s water infrastructure.”

“I appreciate the EPA approving this funding to assist with Flint’s recovery,” Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said. “Combined with the nearly $250 million in state funding already allocated, this will help keep Flint on a solid path forward. It’s great to see federal, state and local partners continuing to work together to help with infrastructure upgrades and pipe replacements for the people of Flint.”

“We are excited and very grateful to receive these much needed funds,” said Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. “The City of Flint being awarded a grant of this magnitude in such a critical time of need will be a huge benefit. As we prepare to start the next phase of the FAST Start pipe replacement program, these funds will give us what we need to reach our goal of replacing 6,000 pipes this year and make other needed infrastructure improvements. We look forward to the continued support of the EPA and federal government.”

The WIIN funding supplements EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), a federal-state partnership. In addition to the federal funds announced today, the State of Michigan is providing the required 20% match of $20 million. Over the years, EPA has provided more than $32.5 billion to states for infrastructure upgrades through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

Under President Trump’s budget blueprint SRF remains fully funded, and the proposal provides robust funding for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program to finance critical drinking and wastewater infrastructure.