Settlement to replace all lead pipes in Flint getting mixed revi - WNEM TV 5

Settlement to replace all lead pipes in Flint getting mixed reviews

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

A plan to pull Flint out of its ongoing water crisis is getting mixed reviews.

On Tuesday a federal judge in Detroit approved a plan to replace all of Flint's lead and galvanized steel pipes. That plan won't be complete for another three years.

For most living in the city, it has already been too long and the prospect of another three years is daunting.

State and city officials agreed to replace thousands of water lines in the sweeping deal. The court ruling said the city will replace 18,000 water lines by 2020 and the state will pick up the bill with state and federal money. The state will pay $87 million and keep another $10 million in reserve.

"I believe God put all the pieces in place," said pastor Alfred Harris Sr.

Hair loss and skin rashes are just a few of the concerns church goers brought to local reverends years ago. Those pastors joined forces to become a group known as Concerned Pastors for Social Action.

The group joined the ACLU and other local activists as plaintiffs in a federal suit to improve Flint's water. On Tuesday they reached a settlement.

"With that agreement, members of the community will get their galvanized and lead pipes replaced," Harris said.

A federal judge is requiring all lead pipes to be replaced within three years.

However, the judge turned down the plaintiffs' request to require home bottled water delivery. Those who cannot pick up water on their own can still call 211 for delivery.

Harris believes the statement is a great first step, but there are other worries that need to be addressed.

"Going forward, one of our concerns is that the laborers and the employees who actually do the work. We're going to hope and want to see citizens of Flint have that opportunity and not just people from outside of Genesee County," Harris said.

On Wednesday, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver announced residents at hundreds of Flint homes will have their pipes replaced this spring. She hopes to reach 6,000 homes in 2017 as part of her FAST start pipe replacement program.

Since the start of the program 785 homes have had their pipes replaced.

Weaver said the work will be done by local contractors from Flint and Genesee County.

"That means jobs for Flint residents, which is another point that will help our city recover," Weaver said.

General Michael McDaniel is overseeing the project.

"There are 10 different zones. Those 10 zones are each 10 different homes. The contracts call for those contractors to work in those zones simultaneously," McDaniel said.

Workers will need to first gain approval from homeowners before replacing pipes.

"I need to thank the citizens, I really need to thank the citizens for their patience, their understanding and their cooperation really. The flushing they've been asked to do, even paying those water bills. I need to thank everybody cause we can't do this alone," Weaver said.

The city is hoping to average about 900 replacements per month.

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