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A report released Friday suggests that Flint residents' pricey water bills could double in the next five years due to several factors, even though the state has pledged aid amid the city's ongoing lead-tainted water crisis.
The analysis, which was submitted to a governor-created committee working to address the crisis, warns that the average residential bill of nearly $54 a month may rise to $110 — not counting sewer charges — "absent any action to increase funding or decrease costs." The typical residential water bill has doubled since 2009 and is far higher than in other regional cities of Flint's size.
Cost savings were a factor in the city's fateful switch in 2014 from the metropolitan Detroit utility system to a temporary water source, the Flint River, until it could connect to a new pipeline. Flint was under state management then, and environmental regulators mistakenly told the city not to add a chemical to prevent lead from leaching out of old pipes.