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lead service lines

construction crew at hole in the road
Eric Schwartz

On April 25, 2014, the city of Flint switched its water source to the Flint River without properly treating it. That damaged thousands of lead and galvanized water pipes which the city is replacing. 

In 2016, University of Michigan researchers developed an algorithm to determine the neighborhoods most likely to have lead pipes. The on-again, off-again use of the model has raised concerns about the efficiency of the city's pipe replacement program.

lead service line held by worker
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Attorneys representing groups that sued to force the replacement of Flint’s lead service lines expect the job will get done this year.

Earlier this week, the city of Flint awarded contracts to replace the lead and galvanized pipes connecting homes to city water mains. It’s the final phase of a project started at the height of Flint’s water crisis. The pipes were a primary source of lead in Flint’s drinking water.

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The city of Battle Creek could be the latest in Michigan to move forward on replacing water pipes that contain lead. City Commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday on a contract to replace the pipes at 93 addresses across the city. The city is deciding whether to spend $311,670 for the work.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint leaders say the city is a year ahead of schedule in its program to find and replace lead pipes.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says the contractors have checked more than 18,000 service lines connecting homes to city water mains. Nearly 8,000 lead and galvanized steel service lines have been replaced.    

Contractors started checking service lines as a response to the city’s water crisis. Improperly treated water damaged aging lead and galvanized pipes during Flint’s brief switch to the Flint River as the city’s primary source of drinking water. The damaged pipes leached lead particles into the tap water of the city’s residents.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint mayor Karen Weaver is optimistic state officials are listening now to the city’s concerns about a method of checking for lead pipes.

Mayor Weaver sat down with state and local officials to discuss the current state of Flint’s recovery from its water crisis.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The head of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says a portion of Michigan’s new lead and copper rule is an “unfunded mandate”— and one that Detroit can’t comply with without some help from state and local government.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The federal government would spend tens of billions of  dollars repairing the nation’s water infrastructure over the next decade if a bill introduced in Congress today becomes law.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s been two years since Governor Rick Snyder followed the lead of local officials and declared a state of emergency in Flint.

Officials say progress is being made.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint's mayor says city employees are focused first and foremost on replacing lead water pipes but are also working to provide status reports required under a legal settlement.

Karen Weaver issued a statement Thursday in response to plaintiffs asking a federal judge to intervene because they say Flint hasn't been sharing information, as it agreed to do.

Weaver says no one wants to get the lead out of Flint more than her.

With more than 6,200 lead and galvanized service lines replaced since its water crisis was exposed, Flint officials say they are on track to meet their overall goal by 2020.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said contractors have also made good progress inspecting homes where the type of service line was unknown.

“This is a significant accomplishment and it actually puts us ahead of schedule,” Weaver said.

Lead service line
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Most water systems operators around the state had a hint this was coming.

The Flint water crisis has reverberated among water professionals working from Muskegon and Grand Haven all through the state and to the Detroit metro area; where the bulk of the state's drinking water lines are still buried.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The man heading Flint’s lead pipe replacement program has a new contract.

The council voted 9-0 on a reconsideration vote during a special meeting Thursday. The council deadlocked 4-4 August 14 on extending a personal services contract for Mike McDaniel.

McDaniel has been the program director of the Fast Start program that has replaced more than 3,000 services lines during the past year. However, he’s been working without a contract since April.    

Lead service line
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor is approaching a milestone of sorts. The city is replacing the last of its lead connections in the water system.

Ann Arbor city officials say they never allowed full lead service lines, the water pipes buried underground that connect homes to the water main.

Where are lead water pipes in Michigan? Here’s our best guess

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The next phase of Flint’s lead pipe replacement gets underway this weekend.

To date, slightly more than 850 service lines have been replaced, as part of the city’s response to pipes leaching lead into Flint’s drinking water.

The goal this year is 6,000.  

“With more work crews in the field starting next week, service lines to 900 homes will be replaced each month, so we’ll really start making progress,” says Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Today, people in Flint marked the anniversary of the start of the city’s drinking water crisis.

It was three years ago, when Flint officials pushed the button switching the city’s tap water source from Detroit to the Flint River.  Improperly treated river water damaged pipes, which then leached lead into the drinking water.

Since then, Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water has drawn national attention and local protests.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Flint are still digesting the terms of this week’s legal settlement and what it’ll mean for them.

Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson signed off on the deal, under which the state and federal governments will set aside $97 million to pay for replacing 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines during the next three years.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Now that a judge has approved a legal settlement to replace lead pipes in Flint, the city is acting quickly to get the process moving.

Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson signed off on the deal under which the state of Michigan will set aside $97 million to pay for replacing 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines during the next three years. 

Last year, Flint removed nearly 800 lead and galvanized steel service lines. This year, the plan is to replace 6,000.         

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says city residents are ready.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state appointed board that oversees the city of Flint’s finances is expected to approve spending more than $30 million to replace lead service lines when it meets Monday.

The Receivership Transition Advisory Board’s approval is all that’s needed before contractors can begin replacing six thousand aging lead and galvanized pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains.

The pipes are a primary source of lead in Flint’s tap water.

Mike McDaniel, who is heading up Flint's Fast Start program, shows a city resident what neighborhoods will be targeted this year.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Weather permitting, Flint officials hope to start the next round of lead service line replacements by mid-April.

Tonight the Flint city council approved contracts to remove up to 6,000 pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains. The pipes are a primary source of lead in the city’s tap water. 

Replacing the service lines became a priority in the wake of the city’s lead-tainted tap water crisis. But issues with funding, logistics and contractors slowed the process. The city replaced just under 1,000 service lines last year. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Drinkable unfiltered tap water for residents in Flint might still be a few years away.

  Retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael McDaniel, who is heading the pipe replacement program, says he has an optimistic goal of 2019 for all lead piping to be replaced in the neighborhoods.

  McDaniel says pipe replacements are expected to pick up in late April. Construction crews are replacing the old lead lines with new copper ones in neighborhoods most affected.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The U.S. EPA is making long term revisions to the 25-year-old Lead and Copper Rule. The new rules are expected to come out this year. A top EPA official says one of the biggest changes could be an expensive one.

Because of the water crisis in Flint, city officials now know there are more than 20,000 lead service lines, the water pipes connecting homes to a water main, still buried underground in Flint.

Because of Flint, we know that other cities are now at least trying to figure out how many lead service lines they have and where they’re located.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A year ago today, Flint, Michigan’s mayor declared a state of emergency because of lead contaminated drinking water.  

That attracted national outrage and sympathy, as well as millions of gallons of donated water.

But a year later, donations have slowed to a trickle and unfiltered water is still unsafe to drink.

From their hometown streets to the halls of the nation’s capital, Flint residents have spent 2016 demanding drinkable water.

But as the year nears its end little has really changed.

mark brush / Michigan Radio

The city of Lansing will reach a major milestone this week when crews replace the capitol city’s last remaining lead service line. The last lead line is scheduled to be replaced on Wednesday.

Service lines connect homes and businesses to city water mains.

A decade before Flint’s lead tainted tap water became a national scandal, utility crews in Lansing started replacing aging lead service lines.

Lead service line
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Congress returns to D.C. this week to begin a three-week-long lame duck session.

Congressman Dan Kildee says funding for Flint is at the top of his list of things to get done before the end of the year.

“We’ve really been working on this for almost the entire year to get Congress to take action, and until we get it done it continues to be my number one priority,” Kildee said.

The funding could help pay to replace thousands of lead service lines damaged because of the water crisis.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

New test results show lead levels in Kalamazoo’s water system have dropped.

The federal limit for lead in water is 15 parts per billion. Last time the city tested, in 2014, Kalamazoo’s lead level was 13 parts per billion. Now it's down to 4 ppb.

13 ppb was close enough to worry Shannan Deater, Kalamazoo’s Environmental Services Programs Manager. She says some of the higher lead results in 2014 weren’t really a good, representative sample. 

Flint's next phase of the Fast Start program will target 788 homes during the next two months.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor hopes to replace the city’s one thousandth lead service line by the end of the year.

Mayor Karen Weaver says phase 3 of her Fast Start pipe replacement program will target nearly 800 homes in the next two months. That’s on top of the more than 200 pipes replaced to date.

Pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains are a prime source of the lead contamination in Flint’s tap water. The city has enough money to replace another 4,000 pipes next year.

But Weaver says Flint needs more help, especially from the federal government.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Monday, the Flint city council will consider contracts for the next round of lead service line replacements.

The pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains are a prime source of lead leeching into people’s tap water.  To date, the city has replaced about 200 service lines.  

The contracts before the city council would target an additional 700 homes.  The project organizer hopes contractors will be able to replace at least 300 of those service lines before winter weather sets in.

Mike and Keri Webber
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Today marks one year since health officials in Genesee County warned people living in Flint to stop drinking their tap water.

The water is improving, but Flint’s water is still not safe to drink without a filter. But there are stories of hope on this not-so-pleasant anniversary.

The city of Flint is slowly replacing damaged lead service lines. But city officials say they need money from the federal government to pay for much of the work.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the U.S. House of Representative could vote on spending billions of dollars to fix the nation’s crumbling municipal water systems.

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a $10 billion bill that included $100 million specifically to replace Flint’s damaged pipes. The pipes have been leaching lead into the city’s drinking water.

But U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, is concerned the House legislation does not include money earmarked for Flint.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

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.  

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