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Mike McDaniel

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The man heading Flint’s lead pipe replacement program has a new contract.

The council voted 9-0 on a reconsideration vote during a special meeting Thursday. The council deadlocked 4-4 August 14 on extending a personal services contract for Mike McDaniel.

McDaniel has been the program director of the Fast Start program that has replaced more than 3,000 services lines during the past year. However, he’s been working without a contract since April.    

Samples of various drinking water pipes.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Flint’s problem water pipe records are forcing the city to rely more on a special tool to determine if homes are using lead or copper service lines.

Digging a hole with a backhoe to see if the pipe connecting homes to city water mains is slow and expensive. It's not something a city like Flint, which is replacing thousands of suspect service lines, has time or money to do.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials expect the city’s pipe replacement program will ramp up in the month of June.

The city is removing lead and galvanized service lines connecting Flint homes and businesses to city water mains – and replacing them with copper pipes.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Now that a judge has approved a legal settlement to replace lead pipes in Flint, the city is acting quickly to get the process moving.

Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson signed off on the deal under which the state of Michigan will set aside $97 million to pay for replacing 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines during the next three years. 

Last year, Flint removed nearly 800 lead and galvanized steel service lines. This year, the plan is to replace 6,000.         

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says city residents are ready.

Mike McDaniel, who is heading up Flint's Fast Start program, shows a city resident what neighborhoods will be targeted this year.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Weather permitting, Flint officials hope to start the next round of lead service line replacements by mid-April.

Tonight the Flint city council approved contracts to remove up to 6,000 pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains. The pipes are a primary source of lead in the city’s tap water. 

Replacing the service lines became a priority in the wake of the city’s lead-tainted tap water crisis. But issues with funding, logistics and contractors slowed the process. The city replaced just under 1,000 service lines last year. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Drinkable unfiltered tap water for residents in Flint might still be a few years away.

  Retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael McDaniel, who is heading the pipe replacement program, says he has an optimistic goal of 2019 for all lead piping to be replaced in the neighborhoods.

  McDaniel says pipe replacements are expected to pick up in late April. Construction crews are replacing the old lead lines with new copper ones in neighborhoods most affected.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

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.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Contractors will soon start replacing lead service lines at more than 200 Flint homes.  But first they need the homeowners’ permission.

The city has hired three companies to fully or partially remove hundreds of service lines.  Representatives of those three companies (WT Stevens Construction Inc., Johnson & Wood Mechanical and Goyette Mechanical) will begin fanning out in specific neighborhoods targeted because their residents are particularly at risk from lead exposure. 

Congressman Moolenaar said this approval comes at a good time, following the release of a study this month that showed almost twice as many of Flint’s water lines may need to be replaced than originally thought.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint officials hope to ink contracts with three companies to begin removing lead service lines.

The service lines have been a major source of lead in Flint’s drinking water. But of the thousands of lead service lines in the city, to date, only 33 have been replaced.

Final agreements are expected to be signed this week with the companies hired to replace about 250 service lines. Plans are to fully replace 100 lines. Another 150 will involve partial replacement. Homeowners may be notified later this week that their service lines will soon be replaced.

BWL's general manager issued a statement saying the utility has "already begun implementing many of the improvements recommended by the MPSC."
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State utility regulators are the latest to give Lansing’s city electric utility poor marks for how it handled a massive ice storm in December.

The Michigan Public Service Commission says the Lansing Board of Water & Light was not prepared for the Dec. 21 ice storm that knocked out power to about 40,000 BWL customers. Many customers had to wait 10 days or more to get their electricity restored.

The MPSC report echoes the findings of BWL’s own internal review and a panel appointed by Lansing’s mayor. Among other things, the MPSC says BWL needs to improve its tree trimming and communications programs. The public service commission does not regulate BWL, so its findings are little more than recommendations for change.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero asked for the state review. He says the three reports will provide a “road map” for BWL to be a more reliable energy provider.

BWL’s general manager issued a statement saying the utility has “already begun implementing many of the improvements recommended by the MPSC.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water and Light plans to hire someone to handle planning for future emergencies.

One of the biggest criticisms BWL received after last December’s major power outage was that the utility wasn't communicating well with those most affected.

About 40,000 people lost power during the Dec. 21 ice storm. Many had to wait 10 days or more to get their lights turned back on.

A recent report claims the utility also failed to keep in touch with local governments, which were also struggling to recover from a major pre-Christmas ice storm.