Flint Water Tower Repairs Set to Begin
Next week, exterior repair work is scheduled to start on the Flint Water Tower in Michigan, followed by interior cleaning and painting, among other upgrades.
“Scheduled repairs and upgrades to the Flint Water Tower are part of our work to continuously improve our water infrastructure in the City of Flint,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “As we move from crisis to recovery, we are approaching every aspect of our water infrastructure with intention, ensuring that we can continue to enhance the quality and reliability of water in Flint.”
Starting on May 8, exterior repairs will begin with crews power washing, painting and performing other maintenance. These activities are anticipated to last a couple of weeks, with no impact on water quality or delivery.
Afterwards, around the third week of May, the water tower will be isolated from the rest of the water system to be taken out of service for about 4 to 6 weeks. The City of Flint reports it will notify residents of the exact timing before the water tower goes offline.
Maintenance inside the water tower will reportedly include:
The city explains that the expected repair time period allows for draining, cleaning, repairing the tank, application of paint, curing of paint, refilling and testing the tank, and bacteriological testing.
Additionally, some minor operational changes will be implemented while the water tower is offline, such as the installation of several pressure relief valves on fire hydrants around the city.
“If there are rapid changes in flows and pressures in the distribution system, one or more pressure relief valves will open to dump water onto the ground. This prevents pressure spikes from occurring and should help minimize water main breaks during the tank project,” stated the release.
“The pumps at the Dort pumping station are equipped with variable frequency drives (VFDs), which are pump control devices that gradually increase and decrease the pumps’ output as necessary to keep a steady pressure in the distribution system. The use of VFDs will also help to minimize pressure spikes and main breaks.”
According to the city, the primary Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) water delivering line, the secondary Genesee County Drain Commission (GCDC) water delivering line, the Cedar Street reservoir and pumping station, and the Dort reservoir and pumping station will all be in service during the water tower repair project.
Recent Flint News
In March, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that a judge granted final approval in a $600 million settlement regarding the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
According to the release, the State of Michigan will pay $600 million, along with $20 million from the City of Flint, through their insurer; $5 million from McLaren Regional Medical Center; and $1.25 million from Rowe Professional Services Co. It will be the largest civil settlement in Michigan state history.
The ruling follows a preliminary approval and three-day fairness hearing in 2021, which established the process through which Flint residents could indicate their intention to file eligible settlement claims that will be processed and paid by the claims administrator.
Flint’s drinking water crisis began in April 2014, when the city chose to switch its water source from Detroit’s water supply to the Flint River as an interim solution, while a pipeline to carry water from Lake Huron to the communities by the newly formed Karegnondi Water Authority was being built.
Water from the Flint River was not treated with corrosion-control agents, and reportedly began to corrode the city’s aging pipes. Drinking water in many homes was contaminated with lead, leading to a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, and causing a public health crisis.
The state did not publicly acknowledge the possibility of lead contamination in Flint until September 2015; the city switched back to pretreated water from Detroit in October 2015.