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Michigan governor announces $500 million water infrastructure plan

  • Michigan governor announces $500 million water infrastructure plan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday a $500 million plan to enhance drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in Michigan.

The plan called MI Clean Water will confront the large infrastructure issues that Michigan faces, such as lead-laden water service lines, toxic contamination like Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), undersized sewers, failing septic systems, unaffordable water rates, and constrained local budgets.

“The MI Clean Water investment will help us rebuild Michigan’s water infrastructure and will prioritize and invest directly into protecting our public health, environment, and economy,” Whitmer said in a statement.

“It’s time for the Legislature to take bold actions to invest in Michigan’s infrastructure and protect our water from toxic contamination,” the Democratic governor said. “Michiganders are tired of waiting for action; the time is now.”

The project includes a proposal combining federal dollars for lead service line replacement in low-income communities ($102.1 million) with bonding authority for water quality protection ($290 million), one-time General Fund appropriation for drinking water infrastructure and innovation ($105 million), and asset management grants ($2.9 million) to help communities develop, update, and improve their plans for wastewater and stormwater systems resulting in a comprehensive water infrastructure investment of $500 million in Michigan’s water systems. The MI Clean Water investment will be done without raising the taxes of Michiganders.

A $207.1 million investment in drinking water quality, including:  

  • Lead Service Line Replacement in Disadvantaged Communities Program - $102 million 
  • Lead and Copper – Drinking Water Asset Management Grants - $37.5 million 
  • PFAS and Emerging Contaminants - Contamination and Consolidation Grants - $25 million 
  • Non-Lead Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants - $35 million 
  • Affordability and Planning Grants - $7.5 million 

A $293 million investment in wastewater protection, including:  

  • Clean Water Infrastructure Grants (eliminating sanitary sewer overflows; correcting combined sewer overflows; increasing green infrastructure) - $235 million   
  • Substantial Public Health Risk Grants (removing direct and continuous discharges of raw sewage from surface or ground water) - $20 million 
  • Failing Septic System Elimination Program - $35 million 
  • Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater Grants - $3 million 

The quality of Michigan’s drinking water has been a main concern for the population with the discovery of lead contamination in Flint and other cities, as well as an increase of the ‘forever chemicals’, per-and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS).

“In Detroit, where we have the oldest infrastructure in the state, it would give us the ability to greatly expand our water main replacement program and replace an additional 2,000 lead service lines beyond our current program,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. 

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