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Gov. Whitmer announces $500M investment to rebuild Michigan's water infrastructure

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Posted at 12:12 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 12:14:35-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced MI Clean Water, a $500 million water infrastructure investment in Michigan's water systems.

“Since the first day I took office, I have made an unwavering commitment to ensuring that Michiganders have access to clean and affordable water. The MI Clean Water Plan marks a significant step toward that goal,” Whitmer said. “The MI Clean Water investment will help us rebuild Michigan’s water infrastructure and will prioritize and invest directly into protecting our public health, environment, and economy. The MI Clean Water Plan is a critical part of the solution, but the work cannot stop here. I look forward to working with the legislature to find creative solutions to address our water infrastructure backlog. Everyone must remain committed to ensuring that every Michigander has access to clean water."

It will provide direct investments for communities, help provide safe, clean water to residents, and support over 7,500 Michigan jobs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Access to clean drinking water is a cornerstone of our work at EGLE, and this exciting package of water protections pulls together a wealth of resources to help ensure clean water for all Michiganders,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “Now is the perfect time to invest state and federal dollars in a coordinated way to encourage job growth in water infrastructure jobs. This work will ripple throughout both the economy and the systems that protect public health, strengthening both.”

The governor's office said MI Clean Water confronts the large infrastructure issues that Michigan faces, such as lead-laden water service lines, toxic contamination like PFAS, undersized sewers, failing septic systems, unaffordable water rates, and constrained local budgets.

MI Clean Water will reduce barriers for communities and allow them to access needed funds for necessary and timely infrastructure upgrades.

The MI Clean Water investment will be done without raising the taxes of Michiganders, the governor's office said.

A $207.1 million investment in drinking water quality, including:

  • Lead Service Line Replacement in Disadvantaged Communities Program - $102 million
  • Lead and Copper – Drinking Water Asset Management Grants - $37.5 million
  • PFAS and Emerging Contaminants - Contamination and Consolidation Grants - $25 million
  • Non-Lead Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants - $35 million
  • Affordability and Planning Grants - $7.5 million

A $293 million investment in wastewater protection, including:

  • Clean Water Infrastructure Grants (eliminating sanitary sewer overflows; correcting combined sewer overflows; increasing green infrastructure) - $235 million
  • Substantial Public Health Risk Grants (removing direct and continuous discharges of raw sewage from surface or ground water) - $20 million
  • Failing Septic System Elimination Program - $35 million
  • Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater Grants - $3 million

“It’s time for the legislature to take bold actions to invest in Michigan’s infrastructure and protect our water from toxic contamination. I'm calling on the legislature to authorize EGLE to use the remainder of the voter-approved 2002 Great Lakes Water Quality bond during this legislative session,” Whitmer said. “Michiganders are tired of waiting for action, the time is now. We must all work together to improve the quality of the waters of our State.”