A new report on the contaminated water crisis in ((the U.S. city of)) Flint, Michigan says the cost of replacing the city's corroded pipes that contaminated drinking water with lead will cost almost double previous estimates.
The report, quoted by the Detroit Free Press newspaper, says the average cost of linking residences to water mains jumped from a state estimate of $4,000 to $7,500.
The report by a leading engineering company said costs could run higher if $2,400 permit fees are added in. It also says other factors -- including costs for the removal of lead contaminated soil -- could push the price tag even higher.
The Free Press also noted that the latest total cost estimate of $55 million quoted by a top state official earlier this month is more than double the Michigan governor's latest budget request of $27 million.
There was no immediate response Saturday to the newspaper account from city or state officials.
The city has already received about $2 million in state aid to replace about 500 lines, and has already authorized $70 million for the crisis. It is said to be seeking an additional $165 million in future budgeting.
City water pipes were ruined in 2014, when engineers, in a cost cutting move, decided not to apply corrosion controls after the city switched its water supply from Detroit's municipal system to the Flint River.
Experts say the resulting lead contamination in the cash-strapped city of 100,000 residents led to higher blood lead levels in some people and may have contributed to an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that killed at least 12 people.
State officials have come under fierce federal and local criticism for their handling of the crisis, particularly for failing to inform city residents of the contamination for more than a year after it was first detected.