Michigan State threaten to pull plug on funding
Progress on the lead pipe replacement program in Flint, MI, has apparently been delayed during 2018 due to a change in how the location of lead pipes is being undertaken. The Mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver, has reportedly changed the method of identifying which properties have lead pipes. Now, contractors are required to dig trenches to confirm the presence of lead pipes as a number of service lines thought to be lead have turned out to be copper.
City officials are not sure where lead pipes are located, so previously a hydrovac truck would be sent to an area to excavate a small hole to confirm the pipe material. This would cost only $200 per property and would avoid digging a large trench if copper was found. Instead, contractors are now having to dig a 10 foot trench costing $1700 per house.
This has caused Michigan State to consider pulling the State funding for the program potentially threatening the viability of the whole lead replacement program. Funding of around $100m from State and federal sources is fundamental to the project.
Flint has around 12,000 lead pipes still to replace.
For more information, click on this link to a recent report by Jim Malewitz of Michigan Environment Watch.