FLINT WA­TER CRI­SIS COULD COST SUP­PLI­ERS $300 BIL­LION

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION / WORLD - — Matthew Dolan, The Detroit Free Press

The rip­ple ef­fects of the city of Flint’s tainted-drink­ing-wa­ter cri­sis could even­tu­ally prompt wa­ter sup­pli­ers to spend more than a quar­ter-tril­lion dol­lars on in­fra­struc­ture up­grades faster than an­tic­i­pated, a lead­ing rat­ing agency said Fri­day.

Fitch Rat­ings said in a note that util­i­ties are step­ping up education ef­forts to bol­ster pub­lic con­fi­dence while eval­u­at­ing ex­ist­ing treat­ment pro­to­cols on wa­ter qual­ity. Sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment in ser­vice line re­place­ment could be com­ing if the fed­eral En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency quickly al­ters ex­ist­ing rules to make them more strin­gent in the wake of Flint, the rat­ing agency said.

“We be­lieve the cap­i­tal costs to re­place th­ese lines could ex­ceed $275 bil­lion,” Fitch said.

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