Flint mayor gives update on lead line replacement project

The effort to replace lead service lines in the city of Flint is still ongoing.
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 5:22 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - The effort to replace lead service lines in the city of Flint is still ongoing.

“We’re moving at a wonderful pace right now to complete this project. And we will get this project completed,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley.

Neeley gave an update on the lead service line replacement project. According to the latest numbers, 1,084 addresses are left. Of that, 275 have consented to service, 93 have declined, agreeing to replace the lines on their own, 527 have not responded yet, and 190 are pending.

Neeley is confident the city’s court-ordered Aug. 1 deadline will be met.

“Well, we doubled the crews. And we’re making sure that we’re thoroughly getting through the process. But what we do need is the help of the general public because once we make contact, or once we come to your home, you have to be there. You have to sign up for this process to be completed,” Neeley said.

It is a deadline that has been pushed back more than once. Neeley pointed out the first deadline was just after he took office, and then the pandemic hit. He also said the goalposts were moved.

“Initially, it was about 18,500 lines to be replaced, and then litigation went forth and took it to 28,000. And we had to go out and do observations of places that we knew lead was not there. In Smith Village, in University Park, newer constructions inside the city of Flint, we knew that lead was not there at those locations. But the litigation required us and made us go out and spend time and money looking for something that was non-existent,” Neeley said.

He said there is money available to replace lead service lines through the end of the year, but the goal is Aug. 1.

“The people can be guaranteed this, is that we will do this project, we will complete it, and it’s going to be done right,” Neeley said.

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