$1 million grant hopes to end discolored water woes in city of Leslie


LESLIE, Mich. (WLNS) – Ever since the Flint Water Crisis made national headlines, it’s safe to say officials in our state and across the nation are on high alert when it comes to water quality and quality of life.

While it’s no “Flint Water Crisis,” people who live in the city of Leslie say it feels similar.

That’s because since 2013, some people in the city have been dealing with yellow, odorous water coming from the tap.

Leslie city officials blamed the changes on a new water treatment system that was put in 3 years ago and it’s taken them until now to determine that.

With the help from state lawmakers, city officials are taking action and it’s all thanks to a $1 million dollar grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

A simple pull of turning on the faucet has been a hard thing to do for many people who live in the city of Leslie.

“There’s a bit of frustration on my part too that this problem has been going on since 2013 and it took this long to address this issue,” said Leslie City Manager Aaron Desentz.

Desentz says the water has always been safe to drink and use but since the changes started in 2013, city officials have been working to determine what caused it.

“That’s really why it’s taken us so long to identify what the root cause of this is because it certainly isn’t the whole city,” Desentz stated.

People who live on Race, Sherman and Oak streets are hit the hardest and while the city has been working on finding a solution, volunteers have been delivering bottled water to their doorsteps.

“The idea that the people of Leslie have had to put up with these terrible water situations the orange and yellow water, lots of iron,” said 23rd District Senator Curtis Hertel Jr.

While the issue will be addressed, it’s not going to happen overnight.

City officials say this grant will allow them to install a brand new water treatment system.

“That’s going to allow the sulfur gases to naturally gas off and that’s also going to reduce the iron in the water and also reduce the corrosiveness of the water,” said Desentz.

Hertel says he’s been working with Leslie city officials for the last two years to get the necessary money to fix the problem. He also says he’s happy there’s now a clear solution.

“I think when it’s all said and done, they’ll be very happy to have clean water back in Leslie,” Hertel stated.

Construction on the project is scheduled to start next Spring. In the meantime, city officials will continue to deliver bottled water to those who need it.

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