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Whitmer administration invests more federal funds to protect Michigan’s drinking water

Whitmer administration invests more federal funds to protect Michigan’s drinking water

By Kyle Kaminski

February 1, 2024

More than $67 million was awarded last week to upgrade the water infrastructure in seven Michigan communities. State officials said the funds will protect the environment and ensure Michiganders have access to clean drinking water.

MICHIGAN—Millions of dollars in state grant funding announced last month is set to help upgrade aging water infrastructure across several Michigan communities, which will ensure local residents have access to clean drinking water as well as protect the local environment.

The state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy announced more than $67 million in MI Clean Water grants to help with nine different water projects across Michigan. 

About 70% of Michiganders currently rely on a community wastewater system, and a similar percentage get their drinking water from community water systems, according to state officials.

Many of these communities, however, often struggle to find the resources to fix their aging drinking water and stormwater facilities, and can be underprepared for new challenges—like new standards for toxic, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as “forever chemicals.”

The new funding aims to address those issues by funding upgrades to wastewater management systems and the replacement of lead service lines, among other key water infrastructure fixes.

The grants were awarded through Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Clean Water Plan, using money that was provided to Michigan from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act.

Among the projects picked to receive funds:

  • The city of West Branch received $18 million to replace old, undersized, and failing water mains and construct a new water tower, among other infrastructure fixes.
  • The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department received $17.5 million to replace about 40,000 feet of vintage cast iron water pipes and 475 lead service lines across the city.
  • Hamtramck received $10 million to replace water mains and lead service lines. 
  • Delta Charter Township received $10 million to construct a new water main, which is set to increase capacity in the sewer system and lead to reliability improvements.
  • Macomb County received $5 million to construct a new sewer main, which is set to reduce overflows into Lake St. Clair by sending sewage to a nearby retention pond.
  • The city of White Cloud received $4 million to remove and replace lead service lines.
  • The city of Lincoln Park received $2.5 million to replace 300 lead service lines. 

More than half of the annual budget for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is usually passed on directly to local cities, towns, and other government agencies to help finance various infrastructure improvements— including for various clean water projects. 

Last September, state officials awarded $45 million in grants to help with nine different projects across Michigan—including significant wastewater system upgrades across the Upper Peninsula; lead service line replacements in Melvindale; and improvements to Mt. Pleasant’s wastewater plant. Another $18 million in water infrastructure grant funding was also awarded last month.  

State officials said the grants are part of more than $4 billion that the state of Michigan has invested since 2019 to upgrade drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater systems statewide—including nearly $600 million for water infrastructure in the latest state budget.

READ MORE: 9 Michigan communities score state grants to protect drinking water

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Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

CATEGORIES: INFRASTRUCTURE
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