Outdated system leaves city guessing where lead pipes are - WNEM TV 5

Outdated system leaves city guessing where lead pipes are

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Mike Glasgow, the utilities administrator for the city of Flint, is pulling no punches.

"We are lacking some knowledge to know where all the lead lines are," Glasgow said.

He openly admits the city can't pinpoint the specific location for the city's lead service lines.

That's important because the state DEQ recently requested records as part of its investigation of the lead laced water plaguing the city.

Experts said homes with lead pipes have a dramatically higher risk of lead poisoning from their drinking water. Under federal rules, those homes need to be sampled.

But Flint really doesn't know where the homes are.

Curt Guyette is with the ACLU of Michigan.  He uncovered what he calls bogus reports which indicated that every house in the report was through a lead service line. 

"The first red flag was in the reports that the city of Flint submitted to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality," Guyette said.

Guyette said he went directly to Glascow when he made the discovery.

“We ask you for this, why didn't you turn it over? He said, we don't necessarily have those records. And so he essentially they were just making up the information," Guyette said.

TV5 asked Glascow the tough questions about it.

"What is being done right now to fix that problem, we are partnering with the University of Michigan Flint, Professor Kaufman to help us go through the 45,000 index cards where all the information is in," Glascow said.

Index cards are the current system for keeping track of Flint’s lines.

Glascow said the outdated technology is the root much of the problem.

“We’ve got to step up our technology and realize it to keep better records like this for future generations. Because a lot of our problems stem from 50-60 years ago,” Glascow said.

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