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Flint's 'Fast Start' coming to end, timetable unclear for removing more lead service lines

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

By the end of the week, the city of Flint expects to finish removing water service lines from 30 homes.   The service lines are believed to be the source of high lead levels in the drinking water.

The city has been paying for the pipe removal with a $2 million reimbursement from the state.

The city’s original goal was to replace 30 lead service lines by the end of last month, but bad weather hampered progress.   

But the city needs more state and federal money to pay to remove more. One study suggests there are thousands of decaying lead service lines that need to be replaced in Flint.

Money from the state is making its way through the normal budgeting process.  Meanwhile, a senator from Utah is blocking legislation that channels tens of millions of dollars to Flint.

Mayor Karen Weaver says the city wants to be ready when the money’s available.

“We’re going to be working to create ways where residents can let us know if they should be considered among the high priority households where pipes are being replaced first,” says Weaver.

Homes that have tested with high lead levels in their tap water will be prioritized. Weaver says they will also put a priority on replacing service lines to homes with senior citizens, children under 6, pregnant and nursing mothers and that have people with compromised immune systems.  

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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