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Flint expected to take key steps this week to remove more lead service lines

Congressman Moolenaar said this approval comes at a good time, following the release of a study this month that showed almost twice as many of Flint’s water lines may need to be replaced than originally thought.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
To date, the city of Flint has only replaced 33 lead service lines.

This week, Flint officials hope to ink contracts with three companies to begin removing lead service lines.

The service lines have been a major source of lead in Flint’s drinking water. But of the thousands of lead service lines in the city, to date, only 33 have been replaced.

Final agreements are expected to be signed this week with the companies hired to replace about 250 service lines. Plans are to fully replace 100 lines. Another 150 will involve partial replacement. Homeowners may be notified later this week that their service lines will soon be replaced.

Brig. Gen. Michael McDaniel is the city’s point man on pipe removal. He admits there’s still work to do, like learn the true cost of replacing the service lines.

McDaniel remains committed to speeding up the process.

“My goal still is that we will get this phase and start the next real phase yet this calendar year,” McDaniel said last week.

As crews begin replacing service lines, McDaniel says the city will try to complete work on the next ‘request for proposals’ for phase three of Mayor Karen Weaver’s Fast Start program. He hopes to have it ready in about a month. 

One sticky issue is the potential use of plastic instead of copper pipes. A California businessman offered the city enough plastic pipes to replace all the city’s service lines for free.

McDaniel says there are several technical issues still under review regarding the use of plastic pipes.  

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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