DETROIT (FOX 2) - When was the last time you heard good news about a Michigan city's water system? Well restart the clock, because major infrastructure upgrades are coming to Detroit's sewer pipes.
And the Mayor was sure glad to make the announcement.
"Isn't it great to be talking about water and sewers when there's not a problem?" he asked a smiling crowd at a press conference.
Thousands of water and sewer pipes are going to be replaced, starting with 50 miles of water main upgrades by the end of the year.
And it won't cost us anything - sort of. Made possible by a lease payment from the Great Lakes Water Authority to the tune of $50 million a year, the cost burden won't be placed on the city's residents.
"It's normally the neighbor's responsibility and we are going through it at our cost in putting in new lines, taking the lead lines to your house out," said Duggan.
That's music to the money-drained ears of many residents.
"That's huge, not seeing anything on the tax bill," said Herb Hayden, a Detroit resident. "That will improve the quality of what we feel from being in the city and our confidence in the city."
The improvements are long overdue. The deputy director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department said Detroit hasn't kept up with the recommend pace of replacing pipes. The last time upgrades of this size came to Detroit was in 1930. That's before World War 2.
"We have not been able to replace infrastructure at the rate that you would typically replace infrastructure at 1 to 2 percent per year," said Palencia Mobley. "So now, we're finally doing that."
DWSD will replace existing lead service lines during the water main replacement, at DWSD's expense. The goal is to eliminate any potential lead contamination problems that may arise in the future.
But the good news doesn't stop there. Along with the water main replacements comes more jobs, of which a majority must be worked by Detroit workers.
"The workers on those projects have to be 51 percent of hours worked by Detroit residents," said Duggan.
The upgrades will help manage the more than 37 million gallons of stormwater that impact Detroit every year.