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Flint city council to consider next phase of lead service line replacements

Oct 10, 2016

Monday, the Flint city council will consider contracts for the next round of lead service line replacements.

The pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains are a prime source of lead leeching into people’s tap water.  To date, the city has replaced about 200 service lines.  

The contracts before the city council would target an additional 700 homes.  The project organizer hopes contractors will be able to replace at least 300 of those service lines before winter weather sets in.

But that timetable may be disrupted by a dispute between the Flint city council and Mayor Karen Weaver.    The two sides have been at odds over several decisions, including which company should pick up the city’s trash.    

The council voted to delay action on the mayor’s resolutions for 30 days in protest.

It’s unclear if the council will approve the contracts this week. The council's Finance committee did agree to put the contracts on the agenda.

The city’s pipe replacement program is being paid for with money from the state of Michigan. More money may be coming from the federal government by the end of the year.

Originally, city officials estimated that about 40% of service lines contained lead, that could leech into tap water. But analysis by University of Michigan researchers of the first pipes removed through the Mayor’s Fast Start program suggest up to 96% of the pipes contain lead.

The head of the Fast Start program believes that number may be high, since the city has intentionally targeted neighborhoods with many suspect service lines.