Flint taking out a loan to pay to remove lead pipes

Mar 7, 2016

The city of Flint is getting a $25 million loan to remove its lead pipes. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (left) announces the Flint Water Works initiative with Chelsea Clinton on Sunday. A short time later, the mayor announced Flint is taking out a loan to pay for removing lead service lines
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says the Union Labor Life Insurance Company has agreed to the low cost loans.

“Right now, we’re waiting for money to come.  So this is something to help us jump start that and get us going,” says Weaver.

Weaver hopes to use money from the state and federal governments to pay back the loan.  

“We’re still waiting for money to come.   And we can’t wait,” says Weaver. 

The city of Flint removed its first lead service line on Friday.  It’s estimated there are 8,000 lead service lines connecting Flint homes and businesses to the city’s water mains.   The service lines are suspected of being the source of lead leaching into the city’s drinking water.

The State of Michigan has given Flint $2 million dollars to start removing suspect service lines. But the city estimates it will cost more than $50 million dollars to do the job. 

Gov. Snyder has proposed another $25 million in state funds to pay for pipe line removal.   But that money, if it comes, apparently won’t be coming before the new state budget takes effect this fall.     

Meanwhile, a new program is promising to help Flint recover from its water crisis, while employing at least a hundred young people.

The Flint Water Works Initiative will hire people between 16 and 24 years old to distribute water, food and nutrition information.

Chelsea Clinton says this is the beginning of a long commitment to Flint.

“The children that have been most effected, the families that have been most effected, will be living with the legacy of lead poisoning for their lifetimes, also likely for their children’s lifetimes,” says the daughter of former Pres. Bill Clinton and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. 

A Chicago philanthropist is contributing a half million dollars to fund the program through November.