By Sheri L. Stuart, Staff Writer
Mayor Karen Weaver announced that the city’s service line replacement plan is running ahead of schedule. Flanked by members of her administration together with several local pastors, Mayor Weaver made the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The Mayor said 18,313 excavations have been completed so far as part of the FAST Start initiative, a program that is working to replace lead and galvanized steel service lines leading to homes all over Flint.
“We wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t for the contractors and local pastors speaking up and speaking out and being a voice for this community,” said Mayor Weaver. “We appreciate you because the courts ruled on a lawsuit that was filed by the concerned pastors. That settlement is what got the city another $97 million,” the Mayor said.
As part of that settlement, the city was obligated to have a minimum of 12,000 excavations completed by January 1, 2019. There is still an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 homes to be checked.
Mayor Weaver said from the start of the crisis she was focused on getting the poison out of Flint’s water supply and can now look toward the restoration phase, which will become a priority in the spring. She said that will involve repairing lawns and other damage to homes caused by the water crisis.
The mayor said while the rate of progress is welcomed news, it’s still recommended that residents consume only bottled or filtered water until the medical community confirms that filters are no longer needed.