Michigan water shut-offs have been suspended due to COVID-19 (coronavirus)
Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order to reconnect Michigan residents’ water services.
“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,” said Whitmer in a statement. “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.”
Public water suppliers must identify homes where water has been shut off either because of nonpayment or damaged infrastructure, reported the Iosco-County News Herald.
According to the governor’s office, the order is effective for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, but it does not absolve anyone from responsibility for past-due bills.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will oversee the Water Restart Grant Program. EGLE will provide limited grants to communities based on available funds, particularly to high-risk areas.
• Communities must provide a preliminary spending plan.
• EGLE will reimburse up to $5,000 for reconnection, 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% local match is required.
• Grant funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis upon receipt of appropriate supporting documentation.
“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 Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in a press statement. “MDHHS is pleased to work to help connect families to critical services and remove barriers to good health practices.”