EPA awards $100 million for Flint water infrastructure work

Waldorf & Sons Excavating crew foreman Brian Damon holds the first lead service line removed from Flint after digging for hours on Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Flint, Mich.

FLINT, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $100 million to help fund infrastructure upgrades in Flint amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water.

The grant announced Friday was promised to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality by Congress in December.

It aims to help Flint accelerate and expand its work to replace lead water service lines and fund other critical water infrastructure improvements.

Sen. Gary Peters says getting more money from the federal government may be difficult and that the state will have to rely on itself for additional funding for a long-term project.

“It will take time. No, of course it was very difficult to get this money from the federal government. I’m not certain that we could get any more. So really, it’s up to the state of Michigan to provide more,” Peters said.

Mayor Karen Weaver said in a statement that the much-needed money will help Flint reach a goal of replacing 6,000 pipes this year.

The state will provide some of the $100 million as a match. About half of the funding is available now. The rest will be released after officials further assess Flint’s needs.

The city switched to untreated Flint River water in 2014, resulting in lead being leached from pipes into the water supply. Flint returned to Detroit’s water system in 2015, but residents still must use filters or bottled water while authorities make the system safe.

— Political reporter Rick Albin contributed to this report.

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