Crews start replacing troublesome lead water pipes in Flint - WNEM TV 5

Crews start replacing troublesome lead water pipes in Flint

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Crews replacing the first lead service line in Flint (Source: WNEM) Crews replacing the first lead service line in Flint (Source: WNEM)
Crews replacing the first lead service line in Flint (Source: WNEM) Crews replacing the first lead service line in Flint (Source: WNEM)
Crews replacing the first lead service line in Flint (Source: WNEM) Crews replacing the first lead service line in Flint (Source: WNEM)
FLINT, MI (WNEM/AP) -

Crews in Flint are starting to dig up old lead pipes connecting water mains to homes as part of efforts to allay the city's contaminated water crisis.

Mayor Karen Weaver says work that started Friday will target lead service lines at homes in neighborhoods with the highest number of children under 6 years old, senior citizens, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and homes where water tests indicate high levels of lead at the tap.

A home on Pierce Street that belongs to a couple expecting a child later this year is the first to have lead service lines replaced as part of Weaver's Fast Start initiative. Barry Richardson II and his fiancée, Ashley Haddock live in the home, and have a baby due in March. Richardson’s 8-year-old daughter also spends time with them.  Since learning of the lead issue, they have been using bottled water, and taking other measures to protect themselves from the tainted water.

“We’re really happy to know we can stop worrying so much about our children’s health being endangered by lead in the water,” said Mr. Richardson, who along with Ms. Haddock works at a grocery store outside Flint.

During a press conference outside the home, Mayor Weaver called on Gov. Rick Snyder to encourage GOP leaders in the Michigan Legislature to quickly approve $25 million for the first phase of the $55 million Fast Start plan. She also wants Congress to pass a bipartisan plan led by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan for $220 million in clean water and health funding. Further, Flint expects the Michigan legislature to move forward and pass a $195.4 million supplemental appropriations package which is badly needed to provide health services, children and family services, and educational intervention strategies to help impacted families in hard-hit Flint.

“I want to say again that I am totally resolved to get the lead out of Flint. But we can’t stop there,” Mayor Weaver said. “We need to move on to a complete renewal of Flint’s water system, and to provide health, education, economic and family services to the children and adults in Flint who have been affected by the water crisis.”

The Lansing Board of Power and Light is taking the lead on replacing old lead lines, and replacing them with copper.  Crews say they can average replacing two service lines a day. It’s expected 30 homes will get new copper pipes in the next three weeks.

On Thursday, a crew dug up a service line leading to a Flint home as part of a separate effort funded by group of private, charitable, business and community groups. But claim they were stopped by city employees asking about permits.

Copyright 2016 Associated Press/WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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