Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (D) says she will move forward with a plan to replace some 15,000 lead service lines connecting city pipes to residences.
She announced on Feb. 10 that a team of technical experts from the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL), which has removed approximately 13,500 pipes over the past 12 years at a cost of $42 million, will help Flint to move forward with the “Fast Start” plan.
The BWL is using techniques that can swap out pipes faster and cheaper than traditional methods, Flint officials believe.
At a Feb. 10 hearing before the House Democratic Caucus Steering Committee, Weaver expressed some impatience with GOP Gov. Rick Snyder’s sluggish response to the crisis, which likely has poisoned thousands of children with lead.
Weaver said that, although she is pleased the governor has allocated $25 million in his 2017 budget for the removal project, it falls well short of the $55 million needed for the work to be completed.
“We cannot wait for [the governor and state officials] to make decisions for us. … I want them to put in place the plan we have come up with,” she said.
BWL’s preliminary project scope estimated the work could be completed within one year under optimal conditions. Weaver says the operation will require dozens of work crews and a robust administrative and logistics team.
Retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael C.H. McDaniel, now a law professor at Western Michigan University, will lead the team to coordinate activities and logistics between the BWL, Flint, and state and federal departments and agencies.