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Flint picks up the pace of its lead service line replacement program

steve carmody
Michigan Radio
After a slow start, Flint's lead service line replacement program is picking up steam.

Flint is making progress on replacing lead service lines.

The pipes connect city water mains to homes and businesses. They're a primary source of lead in Flint’s tap water.

Earlier this year, the mayor’s Fast Start program sputtered, with just 33 lines being replaced.

Phase two of the program started again just before Labor Day.  

Program director Mike McDaniel says crews have replaced 50 lines in the past few weeks. McDaniel’s confident the three companies handling the replacements are averaging about 10 to 12 replacements a day.   He says they will take care of another 150 to 200 before the end of the month.

Though he admits its sometimes difficult to find the pipes.

“Usually it will add maybe an hour to the process … using a metal detector to find the lines,” McDaniel says. 

McDaniel expects the next phase of Fast Start will begin next month. 

He says more than 1,000 service lines will be targeted. But not all at once.

McDaniel hopes to get about 300 pipes replaced before winter weather sets in. The rest will have to wait until the spring.   

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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