After nearly four years, General Motors plans to once again source water for the Flint Engine plant in Flint, Michigan, from the city. Local ABC news affiliate WJRT reported last Friday the city’s mayor and the automaker confirmed the switch.
It’s unclear when the automaker’s engine plant will once again drink from the Flint River, but a GM spokesperson said the deal is nearly solidified save for a few details both sides will iron out. One of the details is a reported $1.2 million credit the city owes GM, which could be spread out over time.
Flint’s mayor, Karen Weaver, ended her State of the City speech by confirming GM will return as a water customer. Since GM switched the taps off of Flint city water, the city has reportedly lost about $400,000 annually from servicing the automaker. More than 15,000 of Flint’s lead water pipes have been replaced and Mayor Weaver added the city is ahead of schedule to replace all 22,000 by the end of 2019.
Water is quality is improving, but the mayor still encouraged residents to use filters and drink bottled water until all 22,000 pipes have been replaced.
GM was said to be in talks with the city of Flint to return to the local water supply back in July. The automaker narrowly avoided crisis ahead of Flint’s major problems three years ago when it switched from Flint water to a fresh supply from Flint Township. The Flint Engine plant borders the township and the infrastructure was already in place for the switch. The option was not offered to other local businesses or residents.
In 2014, workers noticed the local water was rusting and corroding engine blocks at the plant. Incredibly high levels of chloride caused the engine materials to corrode when they came in contact with one another. The lead amounts weren’t the problem for GM, but they have been for thousands of residents.