FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Lead and galvanized steel service lines are being replaced in dozens of Flint homes as the city moves into the third phase of a plan to stop lead-tainted water from coming out of residential taps.
Crews from one company already started switching out some lines, while a second firm on Tuesday will begin replacing lines that lead from water mains to residential meters, Mayor Karen Weaver said Monday.
Lines to 33 Flint homes were replaced earlier this year under the first phase of Weaver’s FAST Start initiative. Another 218 had new lines installed under phase two. Weaver said service lines to 788 Flint homes will be replaced under the third phase.
“It’s my goal that 1,000 homes have new service lines by the end of the year, and that thousands more residents get safer, cleaner drinking water next year as we continue to ramp up the pipe replacement program,” Weaver said.
Flint was under state financial control in 2014 when it switched from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River to save money. Officials failed to treat the river water with corrosion-control chemicals which allowed lead to leach from pipes.
Tests later showed high lead levels in some Flint children.
Flint has since returned to Detroit’s water system.
Weaver’s FAST Start initiative is being paid with $25 million from the state.
Flint is located in Genesee County, northwest of Detroit. More than half of the city’s 100,000 residents are black.
Weaver’s office says at least 30,000 homes in the city may have service lines that need to be replaced.
Work is being concentrated in neighborhoods where a significant number of young children and senior citizens live.
“We want to protect our most vulnerable citizens as we prioritize where crews focus their efforts,” said retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael C.H. McDaniel. McDaniel is coordinating the FAST Start initiative.
“We know many residents are eager to get their service lines replaced, but we must be strategic,” McDaniel said. “The good news is that many more neighborhoods will get their pipes replaced next year.”
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