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Gov. Whitmer orders all shut-off water to be restored during coronavrius outbreak

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Posted at 10:39 PM, Mar 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-29 22:39:02-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order that requires the re-connection of water service that was shut off and starting a $2 million grant program to help communities comply with the order.

Earlier this month, the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan announced plans to re-start the water for those without service amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order signed Saturday requires public water suppliers to identify homes in the area that don't have water service and to make the best efforts to restore those homes.

“This is a critical step both for the health of families living without a reliable water source and for slowing the spread of the Coronavirus,” Whitmer said. “We continue to work to provide all Michiganders – regardless of their geography or income level – the tools they need to keep themselves and their communities protected.”

The order will remain in effect throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and does not absolve anyone from past-due bills.

The state also established a $2 million fund through the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy that will provide funding to communities to help re-connect the water.

Grants will be provided to high-risk areas. Requirements for the grants will include the following:

  • Communities must provide a preliminary spending plan, including the estimated number of homes to be re-connected and estimated average cost per home, prior to the grant being initiated.
  • If lead lines are being replaced as part of the re-connection, the entire line must be replaced.
  • EGLE will reimburse up to $5,000 for re-connection, line replacement and restoration per home. Exceptions to the cap can be requested for homes needing more extensive work. Exceptions must be authorized by EGLE.
  • The community must assure that the plumbers conduct appropriate flushing and provide communication to residents on the importance of flushing and use of filters if needed.
  • A 25 percent local match is required.
  • Grant funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis upon receipt of appropriate supporting documentation.

Communities interested in accessing the funding should email EGLE-RestartGrants@michigan.gov.

“Michiganders need clean water in their homes now more than ever to protect their health and slow the spread of COVID-19 by washing their hands,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon. “MDHHS is pleased to work to help connect families to critical services and remove barriers to good health practices.”

Those re-connecting must flush stagnant water pipes and clean filter screens. Instructions can be found through this instructional video.