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pipe replacement

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In a sign that the Flint water crisis is possibly nearer its end than the beginning, the state of Michigan is closing more than half of the bottled water distribution centers Flint residents have relied on since the crisis began.

For more than a year, Flint residents have included a stop at their neighborhood distribution center to pick up a case or two or more of bottled water during their errands.

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.

Flint Mayor Weaver, Lansing Mayor Bernaro, and Ret. Brig. Gen. Michael McDaniel stand next to the lead pipe.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Flint’s pipe replacement program faces a critical deadline at the end of this week.

By Friday, Flint needs to replace its 2,037th lead or galvanized service line.

That would be approximately 7% of the estimated number of suspect pipes tied to the city’s lead tainted tap water crisis.

The mandated 7% threshold is part of the federal Lead and Copper Rule.  

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

The next phase of Flint’s lead pipe replacement gets underway this weekend.

To date, slightly more than 850 service lines have been replaced, as part of the city’s response to pipes leaching lead into Flint’s drinking water.

The goal this year is 6,000.  

“With more work crews in the field starting next week, service lines to 900 homes will be replaced each month, so we’ll really start making progress,” says Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state appointed board that oversees the city of Flint’s finances is expected to approve spending more than $30 million to replace lead service lines when it meets Monday.

The Receivership Transition Advisory Board’s approval is all that’s needed before contractors can begin replacing six thousand aging lead and galvanized pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains.

The pipes are a primary source of lead in Flint’s tap water.

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.