The cost of replacing water lines in the Michigan city of Flint has almost doubled amid a health crisis caused by high lead levels in drinking water, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday. The average cost of replacing a service water line in Flint through a pilot project that wrapped up this month was $7,500, the newspaper said. The figure is almost twice the $4,000 estimated by the state Department of Environmental Quality at the beginning of the Flint water crisis last fall.
The cost appeared in a report by the engineering company Rowe Professional Services for the state. The Free Press obtained a copy.
The increased cost could complicate talks in Lansing, the state capital, over how much Michigan should put up to help Flint as it faces a $460 million revenue shortfall, the newspaper said.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget originally called for nearly $200 million for Flint to deal with the crisis. Flint has received $2 million from the state to replace about 500 lines.
A representative of Mayor Karen Weaver could not be reached immediately for comment.
Flint switched water supplies to the Flint River from Detroit’s system in 2014 to save money. The river’s corrosive water leached lead, a toxic element that can damage the nervous system, from the city’s water pipes.
Flint switched back to the Detroit system last October.