GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) (12/15/2017) - The new Genesee County Water Treatment Plant and Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline launched full operations Friday, now serving south county communities.
The county's south water loop switched from the Great Lakes Water Authority in Detroit to the new system. Affected communities include the townships of Clayton, Flint, Gaines, Mundy and Grand Blanc, along with the cities of Burton and Swartz Creek.
Three weeks ago, the new system went operational serving communities in the north side of Genesee County.
The KWA pipeline pumps water from Lake Huron and feeds the water treatment plant, which is located in Lapeer County's Orange Township. Water flows from there to Genesee County communities except the city of Flint, which is still receiving water from the Great Lakes Water Authority.
Water from the new plant should hit residents' taps this weekend after the remaining water in the pipelines is used. Water leaves the treatment plant in a 42-inch pipeline and takes about 24 to 72 hours to reach Genesee County communities depending on their proximity to the facility.
Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright said residents probably won't notice a difference in their water, as the source and treatment methods are nearly identical to the Great Lakes Water Authority.
“This is another momentous day for our county, as we begin to deliver our own Genesee County water to each and every resident on our system,” Wright said.
Friday's action is the final step in implementing the $400 million project for Genesee County to supply its own water. Construction began in 2013 on the KWA pipeline and water treatment plant.
Wright said the project was a reaction to repeated double-digit rate increases from the Great Lakes Authority, along with the need to provide stability and redundancy in the system.
“Today, we begin a new era in water supply on a system that accomplishes these goals, and one that is owned, operated and controlled by the residents of this community,” Wright said.
Before flipping the switch to feed water to the southern communities, the water treatment plant and distribution pipelines had to pass four month's worth of testing from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
“We understand the importance of water safety. Our plant mirrors the first-class treatment process conducted by our current water supplier, the Great Lakes Water Authority," Wright said.
Water testing will continue around the clock 365 days a year to ensure the water leaving the treatment plant is safe to drink.
“I am happy to report that over the past three weeks our northern tier residents have experienced a seamless transition to the Genesee County water system,” said Wright. “I have the full confidence that communities ... who are coming on board today will have the same experience."