Flint, Michigan has serious problems with its water. This week, governor Snyder declared a state of emergency and the federal government opened an investigation into the city’s contaminated water. Now, experts say that the 500 miles worth of pipes causing lead poisoning in the city’s children could cost an astonishing $1.5 billion to fix. The real kicker is that the city created the problem in the first place.

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The city started sourcing their water from the nearby Flint River in 2014, after many years of getting their water from the city of Detroit. Almost immediately, reports of foul odors and cloudy water started pouring in. Last month, Flint mayor Karen Weaver finally declared a state of emergency after it was determined that an alarming number of children in Flint had higher-than-average amounts of lead in their blood.

Weaver said that a final assessment has not yet been done and that the city has received quotes from the millions up to $1.5 billion. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder met with Weaver Thursday morning to discuss the issue and the potential solutions. “We’re going to continue on the path of taking positive actions to deal with this difficult issue, to do the best we can going forward,” Snyder told reporters in a joint appearance before the media with the Flint mayor.

Related: Public health emergency declared in Flint, Michigan as lead levels in local water supply spike

An inter-governmental agency will be formed to work with the State Emergency Operations Center which was activated when Weaver declared the state of emergency on Tuesday. The 75-year-old water pipes were severely damaged when the corrosive water of the Flint River was sent through them, releasing lead along with the dangerous chemicals already in the water. About 33,000 homes were affected by the leaching pipes according to officials.

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The state finally admitted, after residents reported lead-associated symptoms like hair loss and rashes along with the “rancid” smell of the discolored water, that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality failed to require the city of Flint to put anti-corrosion agents in the water to prevent the lead from leaching.

In October, the state legislature appropriated $6 million to help Flint reconnect to Detroit water, paying for half of the $12 million cost. The city of Flint had to come up with $2 million, while the Mott Foundation donated $4 million. “This is a situation that no one wished would have ever happened, but it has happened, and we want to be open and honest and say, ‘Let’s address it, proactively.” Snyder told the Detroit News.

Via The Detroit News

Images via ShutterstockU.S. Army Corps of Engineers and D. Sharon Pruitt