Jackson embarks on decades-long, multi-million dollar project to avoid repeating disaster

JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) – Jackson will spend the next 20 to 30 years replacing major service lines in the city. It may seem like a simple maintenance issue, but replacing these lines is expensive and must be done to avoid another water crisis, as happened in Flint.

The city estimates it will spend $ 120 million on the project, and it is looking to the state for help. The city of Jackson is seeking a $ 3 million loan from the State of Michigan to partially cover the $ 120 million cost of replacing 11,000 lead service lines.

Aaron Dimick is the City of Jackson Public Information Officer.

“Over the next 20 to 30 years in Jackson, we’re going to see a ton of construction because we really need to step up to replace all of our main service lines,” Dimick said. “It’s a huge business when you talk about 11,000 lead service lines. This means that every home, every business in the city will need attention. We’re going to have to dig your front yard, dig your parking lot and replace your line.

The city hopes to start construction next summer. Dimick says this work is just a preventative measure.

Dimick said: “It’s not that there is lead in the water here. We have done extensive testing on Jackson’s water, there is no lead problem with our water, everything is in accordance with state guidelines.

Jackson residents are now paying more for their water due to a 12% water tariff increase. This is to help pay for replacements, but the fees are not enough to cover the costs.

Dimick is hoping to get the state loan, saying it will be a good first step in making the necessary changes.

“If everything goes as planned, we won’t have to pay him back because Jackson is considered an underprivileged community,” Dimick said. “[It’s] because we have a large number of low income residents, which means there may be a principle discount on this loan. “

If this funding goes to the City of Jackson, 1,800 service lines will be replaced. The community is invited to join the conversation at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Tuesday’s municipal council hearing will take place virtually at 6.30 p.m.

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