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Flint extends lead pipe replacement deadline by September 2022

FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) – The City of Flint has extended the deadline to complete the identification and replacement of remaining lead water pipes by September 2022, in an agreement approved by the city council.

About 1,900 homes still need pipe replacement work under the deal, and thousands of homes are waiting for lawn restoration.

“While it is frustrating that it has taken so long to remove the lead and galvanized steel service lines from the ground in Flint, it is important that we make sure everything is done correctly, safely and that no home is left behind. Removing the lead service lines is a critical step in replacing damaged infrastructure in Flint and bringing us one step closer to a recovery,” said Melissa Mays, one of the plaintiffs in the federal Drinking Water and Operations Manager of Flint Rising.

Flint’s Lead Service Line Removal Program was established by a 2017 court order in a landmark citizen lawsuit to address contamination in the city’s drinking water. The extension agreement must be approved by the Federal Court.

Flint dug 26,886 pipes to determine if they are lead, and 10,088 pipes were replaced. Of the estimated 1,900 homes that still need pipe replacement work under the deal, about 1,400 have yet to receive the required outreach from the city, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Mays isn’t happy that lead pipes in the city of Flint are still a problem. She is glad residents now have until September 30 of this year to allow the city to come to their homes to see if their homes have lead pipes.

“We’ve been back and forth in court several times, you know, but the goal is to make sure all the lead is removed,” Mays said.

The city was supposed to complete the lead service line removal project by November 2020, but according to Mays, poor communication is one of the many reasons for the delays.

“People thought they should have a zero water balance on their water bill. People thought their lawns wouldn’t be fixed because the information wasn’t out there clearly // there was a lot of back and forth politics, things that shouldn’t get in the way of public health,” Mays said .

The NRDC said 400 residents are currently waiting for the pipes to be replaced. For Mays, there is only one important takeaway from the expansion.

“I’m glad we’re not closing early, the city and state are not closing early, and we’re not going to leave any lead lines behind,” Mays said.