Lansing is model for replacing lead pipes - WNEM TV 5

Lansing is model for replacing lead pipes

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

It's a sight that many Flint residents would love to see, the sound of hundreds of lead service lines being replaced.

But this is Lansing, not Flint. In Lansing the Lansing Board of Water and Light has replaced nearly 1,400 lead service lines since 2014.

The goal is to have lead free water for all homes the BWL serves.

Luis Flores is a supervisor for the BWL. He sympathizes with the people of the Vehicle City for having to pay for water they can’t drink.

“It’s a tough deal for them over there, but it’s something that we can’t control here.”

The BWL is confident it can duplicate the same type of success in Flint, but it all starts with accurately identifying all the service line. Something that has been a challenge so far.

“Well, if you have the boots on the ground and the available crew. And you have the administrative infrastructure in place, you can knock it out in a year,” said Dick Peffley, General Manager of Lansing Board of Water and Light.

Dick Peffley is optimistic and confident that Mayor Karen Weaver’s Fast Start program, which comes with an estimated price tag of $55 million, can fix the problem.

The technique and technology that BWL has developed employs threading a copper line to easily replace the lead line inside. It’s similar to a heart bypass operation.

"We push a cable through the old lead service, hook it to the new copper line, and then a backhoe out on the street will take and pull the lead service out.  And as the lead service is out, the copper one comes in right behind it, and we're outta there."

It’s that process that people in Flint want to see in action.  

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