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Water activists seek new deadline for replacing Flint's lead service lines

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Activists want a federal judge to impose a new deadline on the city of Flint to finish replacing lead service lines.

Pipes connecting homes and businesses to city water mains were a main source of lead leaching into Flint’s drinking water during the city’s water crisis.

Replacing aging lead and galvanized service lines has been a priority in the wake of the crisis. The job is about 95% complete.

To date, city officials say more than 27,000 service lines have been inspected and more than 10,000 have been replaced.

But the city missed a court-mandated September deadline to finish the job.

“The City of Flint did not manage to replace even a single lead pipe this year until September and is unable to tell us which homes and how many still need lawns, driveways, and sidewalks restored from the excavation work. This is unacceptable,” said Pastor Allen Overton with Concerned Pastors for Social Action, one of the plaintiffs in the federal drinking water case. 

This week, lawyers for the Concerned Pastors for Social Action and Flint Rising filed a motion asking a judge to create a new August, 2023 deadline to complete the work.

The mayor’s office says the city has “tentatively agreed “ to the new deadline pending city council approval.

“I ask those remaining homeowners to give our crews right of entry so that we can fix this once and for all,” said Mayor Sheldon Neeley.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently granted a one-year extension to the City of Flint for federal funding to pay for excavation and replacement of the remaining lead service lines.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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