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Flint's mayor defends pipe replacement program

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint's mayor says city employees are focused first and foremost on replacing lead water pipes but are also working to provide status reports required under a legal settlement.

Karen Weaver issued a statement Thursday in response to plaintiffs asking a federal judgeto intervene because they say Flint hasn't been sharing information, as it agreed to do.

Weaver says no one wants to get the lead out of Flint more than her.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, a group of pastors and a resident say Flint officials have made it impossible to monitor compliance with the March agreement. It requires the replacement of lead or galvanized steel service lines and the installation of faucet filters.

Weaver says her administration is "doing all we can" to protect residents' health.

The mayor is optimistic her city’s lead pipe replacement program will accelerate in 2018.

The service lines connecting homes to city water mains have been a prime source of lead in Flint’s tap water. 

The city has replaced more than 6,000 lead service lines over the past two years. 

Weaver expects crews will replace another six thousand lead pipes next year to stay on pace to replace around twenty thousand service pipes by 2020.

“We may be able to come in under that three year time frame,” says Weaver, “So we’re going to continue to work toward that.”

The city still distributes more than 60,000 cases of bottled water each week to Flint residents who don’t trust their tap water. 

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.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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