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Flint, Mich., mayor proposes broad lead pipe replacement program

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Feb. 3, 2016 at 7:18 AM

FLINT, Mich., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Karen Weaver, the mayor of Flint, Mich., announced an aggressive plan to remove all of the city's water pipes contaminated with lead.

The proposed plan would be aided by the nearby city of Lansing, which removed more than 13,000 lead pipes. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has offered technical assistance to Flint from the Lansing Board of Water and Light.

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"We are here today to take a stand to get the lead out of Flint," Weaver said at a press conference Tuesday. "To start, we must remove and replace lead pipes immediately, and we want to start with the high-risk homes of kids under 6 and pregnant women ... These lead pipes have got to go."

The cost of replacing each lead-contaminated pipes should range between $2,000 to $3,000. The lead pipes are thought to have attributed to the Flint water crisis as contaminated water continued to reach residents even three months after the city stopped using the toxic Flint River as a source.

Although no official estimate has been released, the project could cost nearly $40 million. Weaver said she is looking for private and public funds to carry out the replacement program. For Lansing, about 700 remaining pipes were expected to be replaced out of the total 13,000 and the project would take about 10 years to complete.

Dave Murray, press secretary for the embattled Gov. Rick Snyder, told The Flint Journal-MLive there is "a consensus among experts and state lawmakers ... that much has to be done before pipes can and should be replaced."

"Experts say that the best plan is to first coat the pipes with phosphates to inhibit corrosion, then conduct a study to determine which pipes need to be replaced," Murray wrote in a statement. "At that point, experts can determine what changes can be made to the water infrastructure."

Topics: Rick Snyder
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