Dec 06, 2018

Flint, Mich., Pipe Replacement Is Ahead of Schedule

While the city’s lead service line replacement is ahead of schedule, they have received criticism

Flint lead service line replacement is ahead of schedule
Flint lead service line replacement is ahead of schedule

On Dec. 4, Flint, Mich., officials announced that the city is a year ahead of schedule in a court-mandated order to replace lead service lines. The order requires Flint to fully remove and replace lead service lines by the end of 2019. Furthermore, the city must replace a minimum of 6,000 lead or galvanized service lines per year.

According to The Detroit Free Press, the city said it has checked more than 18,000 service lines and replaced 7,700. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said in a news conference that between 10,000 and 12,000 lines still need to be  checked and that officials have dealt with high priority lines.

“We’re not finished, so I don’t want anybody to be confused about that,” Weaver said.  

Weaver advised residents to continue to use water filters and drink bottled water as the lead pipe replacement continues. The excavations were targeted as part of a lawsuit settlement by groups including the Concerned Pastors for Social Action and Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) requesting funds to search for lead pipes. However, the city’s response has received criticism by NRDC, who has argued the city is not fulfilling their end of the agreement.

“While the city has dug up or check 18,000 pipes, and we agree that’s promising progress, they’ve not complied with the legal obligations of the settlements,” said Dimple Chaudhary, the NDRC’s senior attorney. “The city is required to target homes that have hazardous pipes, they haven’t done that this year. They’ve focused their efforts on checking homes known to have copper.”

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has stated it will withhold $2.1 million in state funding and $431,269 in federal funding until Flint agrees to a Nov. 16 proposal sent by NRDC to resolve the agency’s claims that the city is not prioritizing lead pipes, as reported by local news source MLive.