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City of Jackson receives $16.5 million for water infrastructure improvements

lead line replacement[4].png
City of Jackson
Two workers replace a lead line in Jackson, Mich. The city received $16.5 million from the state of Michigan for water infrastructure improvements. Of that, $9 million will help fund the replacement of lead lines in the city.

The city of Jackson has received a financial boost from the state of Michigan for water infrastructure improvements. A majority of the nearly $17 million in funding will go toward replacing lead service lines.

Most of the money received by the city come from grants including the American Rescue Plan fund and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law fund.

The rest comes from a $4.1 million Drinking Water State Revolving fund. It’s a low-interest loan that the city will need to repay over 20 years.

City of Jackson spokesman Aaron Dimick said $9 million has been earmarked for replacing lead service lines throughout the city. He said overall, the project will cost the city more than $130 million dollars over the next 30 years.

“When we talk about implementing this $9 million that is a huge boost, especially considering the state mandated that we do these replacements, but there was no initial funding to make [that] happen,” he said.

There are 11,339 known lead service lines in the city of Jackson and 381 have been replaced as of this summer, according to the city.

“This is something we’re going to be dealing with over the next 30 years and we just want to make our residents aware that we’re working on it and we’re finding the best funding sources that we can,” Dimick said.

Dimick said the city won’t see immediate impacts to water rates because of the funding but in the long term, it will help reduce the cost burden to city government and its residents.

Dimick adds the city doesn’t have an issue with lead in the water and it's something they test for regularly. However, he said the replacements are state mandated as well as something officials are doing preventatively for the future.

“We want to avoid a situation like Flint or Benton Harbor from happening, so this is important work that we need to do to improve our water quality and make sure we have good water quality,” he said.

The remaining $7.5 million in funds will go toward water main replacements and improvements to the city’s water treatment and wastewater systems.

Melorie Begay is WKAR-FM's weekend host and a general assignment reporter.
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