The City of Flint has a new deadline to replace lead water service lines in its neighborhoods.
Mayor Sheldon Neeley said during a press conference Thursday that the city had agreed with the Natural Resources Defense Council to extend the deadline for replacing the pipes to November 30.
“We’re pleased to say that we came to a negotiated term, with the NRDC, that gives us an extended period of time to make sure that we get to every resident,” he said.
The NRDC was a plaintiff in a lawsuit during the Flint water crisis. A 2017 settlement required the state and Flint to replace the city’s lead pipes.
Neeley said the city has completed 91% of inspections, but still needs to visit about 2,500 households to see if they have lead pipes. Many of those homes still need to fill out consent forms and submit them to the city.
“We have to get into your home,” explained Neeley. “We have to … do some digging in the front yard or parkway in making sure that we do the job correctly” — and that all requires residents’ permission, he said.
Neeley said previously completed forms got lost during multiple switches between contractors who were hired to dig up the pipes and replace them.
“Through contractors, and also through some of our project managers through the transition of time, some of those things were not found or misplaced ... we don’t have them,” he said.
A press release noted that “a series of different contractors” had worked under the administration of Neeley’s mayoral predecessor, Karen Weaver.
City attorney Angela Wheeler said any resident who filled out a form before March 15, 2019 should submit a new one.
Those residents have until September 18 to turn in the forms, and can do so by calling 810-410-1133 or visiting cityofflint.com/GetTheLeadOut.
The project has faced multiple delays since the settlement was reached in 2017, most recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The press release notes that inspectors will wear gloves, masks, and face shields, and keep six feet apart from all residents.