With work crews nearing completion of the service line replacement project, Mayor Sheldon Neeley is asking all residents to participate now while funding remains available to replace lead and galvanized steel pipes carrying water to residential homes in the city of Flint.
The service line replacement project has been ongoing in the city of Flint for more than four years. Now more than 90% complete, work crews expect to complete service line replacement work this year. So, Neeley is leading a special push to ask residents to help to Get the Lead Out.
Residents must consent to having their pipes replaced by Sept. 18, 2020, to guarantee they can be replaced for free as part of this program.
Even after residents consent to work at their home, someone over the age of 18 must be home in order for the work to be completed.
This is an extended deadline agreed upon by the city of Flint and the National Resources Defense Council. Previous deadlines also had been set for November 2019 and March 2019, but both the City and NRDC agreed to the new date in part because the NRDC raised concerns over inadequate sharing of records by contractors operating under the previous administration and the potential for consent forms to have been lost in the transition between contractors.
To opt-in to the service line replacement program, residents may:
go online to: cityofflint.com/GetTheLeadOut
or mail: Flint City Hall
DPW Service line replacement program
1101 S. Saginaw St.
Flint, MI 48502.
Prior to the current administration, a series of different contractors managed the service line replacement project and failed to meet its original 2019 completion deadline. In the transitions between project managers, data provided to the next contractor was sometimes missing or otherwise inadequate. Paperwork filed before March 15, 2019 remains of particular concern.
If you submitted a consent form prior to March 15, 2019, and your service line has not yet been checked, you must submit another consent form. If there are any questions, call the service line replacement hotline at (810) 410-1133.
Given the historic lack of proper record keeping, the Neeley administration and the NRDC agreed extra precautions should be made to ensure residents are given another opportunity to consent to the work and extended the deadline to consent to the work to Sept. 18, 2020.
“We are going to get the job done and make sure it is done the right way,” Neeley said. “We need all residents to come together to help us ‘Get the Lead Out.’ Getting your lines checked is quick, easy and free-but time is running out. Replacing lead service lines is an important safety measure for you, your family and future generations.”
The project has excavated 25,953 service lines in the city of Flint as of Aug. 7, 2020. Of those, 9,695 included lead or galvanized steel and pipes that were replaced. The remaining 16,258 homes already had safe, copper service lines. Only about 2,500 more households still need their service lines checked.
Any and all Flint households can still participate, even those who have declined to participate previously.
In April, the city filed notice that work was halted on the project because of COVID-19 and the governor’s executive orders requiring residents to stay home. Work resumed on May 29.
Residents do not have to have the work on their water service lines completed by the Sept. 18, 2020, deadline, but they must consent to the work by then to guarantee their service line will be checked and replaced, if necessary, before the project ends.
Under the agreement with the NRDC, which was negotiated by the administration and approved Wednesday by Flint City Council, excavation, pipe replacement and property restoration work will be completed by Nov. 30, 2020, on all homes where residents have consented to this service by Sept. 18, 2020.
As part of the effort, the city of Flint also is conducting additional outreach to residents to encourage them to participate in the service line replacement: including letters to households, new informational door hangers and a revised Get the Lead Out page on the city of Flint’s website at CityofFlint.com/GetTheLeadOut.
The team of work crews is doing repeated outreach residents to schedule work. Workers are making contact at least three times-including at least one mailed letter and at least two visits to the residence, one of which is done after 5 p.m. or on the weekend.
Neeley urged residents to cooperate with work crews doing the service line replacement project -answering the door, consenting to the work and being home at the time of scheduled service.
The process is simple, but a resident 18 years or older must be home to consent to the service:
— Crews dig a hole to check the home’s pipes.
— If the pipes are copper, they are safe and do not need to be replaced. The hole is filled and crews stop asking for permission to check your service lines.
— If the pipes are lead or galvanized steel, the pipes will be immediately replaced in most circumstances. Crews will briefly need to enter the home to ensure the service line is connected properly. Workers will wear face masks and other protective equipment, as well as follow additional safety precautions.
— Crews return to the residence to make additional yard, sidewalk, and grounds repairs as needed. A resident does not need to be home for restoration work to occur.
All work associated with the water service line replacement project is being done at zero cost to the Flint residents.
Workers will remain a minimum of 6 feet from all residents. They also will wear gloves, face masks and face shields when going door-to-door. In addition, they will ask residents how they are feeling and if it would be an appropriate time to do service line replacement work. All work areas inside the home will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
Testing continues to show that water quality in the city of Flint has stabilized. Testing at the end of 2019 showed lead at 4 parts per billion in Flint (90th percentile score, the standard used nationwide) far below its high of 20 ppb in 2016. The federal action level for lead is 15 ppb.
The $97 million service line replacement project is being paid for by the state of Michigan, which also received federal dollars to fund the project.
To contact the Water Service Line Replacement hotline to consent to service or check on the status of your home’s water pipes, call (810) 410-1133. For questions about property restoration after service line replacement, call the City of Flint Street Maintenance Division at (810) 766-7343. For water service reconnection to homes without water service, call the Public Health Navigators (810) 410-2020.