GM ending water supply agreement

FLINT TWP. — A request from General Motors to transfer its water service for Flint Engine Operations from the township back to the City of Flint, has been approved by the township board with contingencies.

One condition is that GM pays a tap-in fee, as set forth in the original 2014 water provision franchise agreement when GM transferred to Flint Township water due to problems with the City of Flint using corrosive Flint River water instead of water purchased from Detroit.

The township’s water supply also came from Detroit until last fall when the Karegnondi pipeline was completed. Both Karegnondi and Detroit water comes from the same place – Lake Huron.

Flint has since returned to Detroit as its water supplier.

Township attorney Peter Goodstein reviewed a memorandum of understanding from GM then recommended that the board require GM to pay the tap-in fee, under the terms stated in the original 2014 agreement.

GM did not pay a tap-in fee at the time of the transfer but the agreement states that it would be required if they were still using the township water supply six months after the Karegnondi Water Authority was up and running.

Goodstein also recommended that the township get details in writing from GM defining its expectations to use Flint Township water as a backup source, which would require approval from the City of Flint.

The City of Flint also signed a releases allowing the 2014 transfer which GM requested due to higher levels of corrosive chloride in the Flint River water that was damaging to machinery.

In April 2014 , the City of Flint switched to the Flint River as its water source , ending a longstanding agreement with Detroit as its water supplier, which was becoming too costly. The use of river water allegedly lead to widespread contamination of the Flint water system and lead poisoning in children.

The river transfer was intended to be a short-term solution until the completion of the Karegnondi pipeline. Flint officials had originally agreed to join the Karegnondi Water Authority but has since decided to renew its water agreement with Detroit.

GM had been trucking in water at the time it approached the township with an urgent request to transfer to township water, said Township Supervisor Karyn Miler.

Township officials worked with attorneys and city and county officials to quickly hammer out an arrangement to remain in place until the Karegnondi pipeline was completed. GM officials said from the outset that they would return to city water when it reached chloride levels suitable for use in its equipment.

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