Flint mayor visits homes during water line replacements

Associated Press

Flint — Flint Mayor Karen Weaver visited three homes Wednesday where crews are replacing old service lines as part of efforts to correct the city’s lead-tainted water crisis.

Laborers Jon Filpatrick, front, and Justin Glazier of Fessler and Bowman open a hole in the street as crews replace lead service lines at homes on the 1200 block of Durand in Flint on Wednesday.

“We are excited that crews will be out working once again to help get the lead out of Flint and restore safe clean drinking water to residents,” Weaver said in a statement. “From this point on we hope to have crews out almost daily in effort to replace 200 to 250 lead-tainted service lines over the next month.”

Flint was under state financial control in 2014 when it switched from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River to save money. Officials failed to treat the river water with corrosion-control chemicals, which allowed lead to leach from pipes into homes. Tests later showed high lead levels in some Flint children.

Weaver said the work is part of the FAST Start initiative, which includes removal of service lines made of lead and galvanized steel. Two firms were doing the pipe-replacement work Wednesday, and a third contractor is set to begin next week.

A section of new copper pipe is readied to replace an old lead line as crews replace service lines at homes on the 1200 block of Durand in Flint on Wednesday.

Prior to digging to reach the pipes, teams obtain consent from homeowners. Utilities and other agencies are notified before work starts and water sampling is done at homes.

This phase is being funded with $2 million from the state. Another $25 million in state appropriations will be used to replace an estimated 5,000 more lead-tainted pipes, according to Weaver’s office.