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COVID-19 outbreak delays Flint’s lead pipe replacement program

Work crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Flint's lead pipe replacement program is on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flint is suspending its lead pipe replacement program amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flint started replacing service lines connecting city homes and businesses to city water mains in the wake of the city’s water crisis.

Since 2016, the city has inspected more than 25,000 service lines and replaced more than 9,000 lead and galvanized pipes.

The program is roughly 85% complete, but behind schedule. The program was initially supposed to wrap up last year, but it was delayed and not expected to be wrapped up until June of this year. 

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley says the face-to-face meetings needed to get home owners’ approval to replace the lines on their properties are “unreasonable and unrealistic” during the pandemic.

A new timeline for the project will be set after it is determined that it can continue without undue risk of spreading coronavirus.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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