Copper Helps Flint Solve Its Water Crisis

A new video from the Copper Development Association (CDA) shows how Flint, Michigan, is bringing clean, safe water back to its residents with the help of copper. In a city that has battled contamination problems since 2014, the city is now on schedule to replace its lead pipes with new copper piping by 2020.

The U.S. water infrastructure continues to age each year. Over time, with aging pipes, the threat of lead contamination increases. Copper’s unique characteristics make it an ideal replacement material.

“If we replace a line with copper, we know that in 10 years we’re not going to be digging it back up again. It’s going to last probably longer than some of these houses are going to last, so economically it just made sense,” says Major Nicholas Anderson, former operations officer for the Flint Fast Start Program.

Copper plays a key role in making the U.S. water infrastructure safe for all. The CDA estimates that there are an estimated 10 to 11 million service lines in North America that are going to need to be replaced to ensure safe drinking water. Leading copper mining companies like Freeport-McMoRan and Rio Tinto stand ready to support those efforts. Copper projects are being developed in the U.S. by Hudbay Minerals, Resolution Copper, Twin Metals Minnesota and PolyMet Mining, all NMA members.