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Federal judge is scheduled to hold a hearing this week on whether the city of Flint should be found in contempt

(file photo)
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
(file photo)

This week, a federal judge is scheduled to hold a hearing on a request to hold the city of Flint and its mayor in contempt.

The contempt motion is linked to the city’s years-long project to replace lead and galvanized water service lines.

Since the Flint water crisis, workers have been digging up lawns and sidewalks for years to find and replace the pipes. But in many cases, home owners have complained their lawns and sidewalks were left damaged.

In February, a federal judge ordered the city to compile information on where restoration work remains undone. But the city missed the judge’s May 1 deadline.

Last month, attorneys with the Natural Resources Defense Council, representing the Concerned Pastors for Social Action and other Flint residents, filed the contempt motion for failing to meet the deadline. They also asked for a fine of $500 dollars a day until the city complies.

In a response filed with the court earlier this month, the City’s attorneys claim the city of Flint has “nearly completed” the court’s mandated work, so the contempt motion “will shortly” be moot.

On Friday, the plaintiffs filed their response countering “The City’s assertion of progress now…only reinforces how far short its prior efforts fell.”

Meanwhile, the city is facing yet another deadline.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson has given the city of Flint until August to complete the entire service line replacement project.

To date, the city has inspected more than 27,000 service lines and replaced more than 10,000 found to be either lead or galvanized steel.

But that still leaves hundreds of pipes to be replaced by the court mandated deadline.

The city of Flint has missed several deadlines to complete the pipe replacement project in recent years.

Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and property owners not responding to city efforts to get permission to inspect the pipes have been cited in the past for missing those deadlines.

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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