LANSING — State Rep. Robert Kosowski (D-Westland) has introduced legislation that would allow for the owner or operator of a public water supply to apply for emergency funding for remedial purposes if it is found there is a threat of contamination to its drinking water.
Under House Bill 4175, the Department of Treasury would only issue a loan if the water supply has no other source of potable drinking water and the owner of the water supply has not been able to secure other sources of funding to address the threat of contamination.
“Ensuring our citizens have access to clean drinking water must be one of this Legislature’s top priorities,” Kosowski said. “My legislation would simply allow owners and operators of public water supplies to have another financial avenue to explore, should an emergency situation arise and it is deemed the water is no longer safe to drink.”
HB 4175 would allow a municipality to apply for an emergency loan not to exceed $25,000. The owner or operator of the public water supply must agree to submit information to the department in order to be subjected to a financial background check which would ensure it can meet the repayment terms of the loan, and that the loan must be repaid within a 12-month period.
“Obviously, with the crisis that happened in Flint, the quality of drinking water is on everyone’s minds,” Kosowski said. “As we see what continues to unfold, and we see if the problem becomes more widespread, I want to ensure we have an additional funding mechanism in place to aid these communities. Presently, there are only a few of sources for funding for water infrastructure. With our state focusing so much on the city of Flint and what will happen, I think it is important to have another option for municipalities to choose should another disaster occur.”