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Flint officials agree to new rules in replacing lead water lines

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News
A lead main service line is exposed in Flint, Michigan.

Flint officials have reached a legal agreement to adhere to deadlines to track down all the remaining lead pipes with data analysis, the plaintiffs in a legal settlement said Tuesday.

The plaintiffs in the Concerned Pastors For Social Action group settlement case announced that Flint officials have agreed to the "statistical model" created by Eric Schwartz of the University of Michigan and Dr. Jacob Abernethy at the Georgia Institute of Technology to help in finding homes to replace service lines this year.

Flint has replaced nearly 7,000 out of about 18,300 lead or galvanized steel water lines, city officials said in December.

Mayor Karen Weaver said at a December press conference that the city hopes to complete replacement of all service lines that could contribute to lead contamination of the city's water by the end of 2019.

“Our primary goal continues to be getting the remaining lead pipes out of Flint as quickly as possible. This is a critical step towards accomplishing that,” said Pastor Allen C. Overton of Concerned Pastors for Social Action group.

The agreement calls for Flint to "prioritize" service line excavations from a list of as many as 5,200 addresses, with the statistical analysis helping increase the probability of finding a lead or galvanized steel service line.

“This agreement will refocus and improve the city’s pipe replacement program. The commitment to use a statistical model with a proven track record of success will help protect Flint residents from further lead exposure,” said Sarah Tallman, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

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