(WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Saturday that requires the re-connection of water service that was shut off and starting a $2 million grant program to help communities comply with the order.
The order requires public water suppliers to identify homes in the area that don't have water service, and to make the best efforts to restore those homes.
“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,” Whitmer said in a release. “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.”
The order will remain in effect throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, and does not absolve anyone from past-due bills.
The state also established a $2 million fund through the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy that will provide funding to communities to help reconnect the water.
Grants will be provided to high-risk areas. Requirements for the grants will include the following:
- Communities must provide a preliminary spending plan, including the estimated number of homes to be reconnected and estimated average cost per home, prior to the grant being initiated.
- If lead lines are being replaced as part of the reconnection, the entire line must be replaced.
- 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 percent local match is required.
- Grant funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis upon receipt of appropriate supporting documentation.
Communities interested in accessing the funding should email EGLE-RestartGrants@michigan.gov
“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 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon. “MDHHS is pleased to work to help connect families to critical services and remove barriers to good health practices.”
Those reconnecting must flush stagnant water pipes and clean filter screens. Instructions can be found through this instructional video.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
See all of our Helping Each Other stories.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.