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Jackson gets $16.5 million for water infrastructure, bulk of it will help replace lead service lines

City of Jackson water line
Posted at 5:03 PM, Nov 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-07 17:03:16-05

JACKSON, Mich. — There’s more than 11,000 lead service lines in the city of Jackson. Officials have made it their goal to replace them all to keep the water quality safe. They received funding to try to make it happen.

“This is really putting wind in our sails when it comes to our lead service line replacement program,” the city's Public Information Officer Aaron Dimick said.

About $9 million will be going beneath the streets in Jackson and into a replacement of the city’s pipes.

It’s part of a $16.5 million round of funding from the state of Michigan.

“It’s really a big game changer and it means that we’re going to be able to more line replacements per year, meaning perhaps we’ll be able to finish this project early,” Dimick said.

City officials say there’s a lot of work to do.

They say it may cost close to $130 million to replace all of the lines and take up to 30 years.

“Which sounds like a lifetime and it is a lifetime to a lot of people, but that is kind of our realistic picture about what it’s going to take just because it takes so much people power, it takes so much effort, so much money to get this accomplish. We really are working as quick as we can,” Dimick said.

And, the work being done now could help prevent Jackson residents from enduring their own water crisis like what’s happened in Flint and more recently in Benton Harbor.

City officials stress there are no known lead problems in the water.

“It’s really important for our residents to know that we’re working as hard as possible to get the lead pipes out of the ground and make our drinking water as safe as can be,” Dimick said.

As of this summer, 381 lead service lines have been replaced. Administration set aside $7.5 million for water main replacements and improvements to its water treatment and wastewater systems.

The majority of the funds come from grants, meaning the city will pay back a $4.1 million loan over 20 years.

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