Flint Bypasses Governor, Will Drop $55M on New Pipes

Mayor hopes 15K lines can be replaced in year's time
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2016 11:18 AM CST
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds the hand of Flint Mayor Karen Weaver during a meeting with officials at the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday in Flint, Mich.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(Newser) – Less than two weeks ago, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said replacing Flint's lead-coated pipes in the city's water distribution system wasn't on his "short-term agenda" and that coating the pipes with phosphates might serve as a stopgap. But it looks like Flint is moving on with or without him: On Tuesday, Mayor Karen Weaver announced a $55 million public works project that will replace all of the city's water pipes, and the process will begin within a month, the Detroit Free Press reports. "All lead pipes need to be replaced," Weaver said at a press conference, per WDIV. "We deserve new pipes because we did not deserve what happened." The mayor and other officials are hoping the project can be completed within a year with a few dozen crews and under "optimal conditions," per Weaver.

Around 15,000 lines will be replaced, and "high-risk" households (those with children and pregnant women) will be first on the list. Funding for the project will come from the Michigan Legislature and the US Congress, Weaver said. And other money may show up as well: As the FBI continues to investigate the crisis, high-ranking public officials have asked for funds all the way up to the federal level. US Rep. Candice Miller, for instance, wants the EPA to hand over a $1 billion emergency grant. "We're going to restore safe drinking water one house at a time, one child at a time, until the lead pipes are gone," Weaver said, per WDIV. (A Flint family is suing the city after their 2-year-old tested positive for lead poisoning.)

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