After delays in Flint lead pipe replacement, Michigan comes to rescue

“We are committed to removing lead from every home and continue to seek funding opportunities to replace additional lead service lines beyond the terms of the settlement agreement,” Neeley said.

Ten years have passed since a state-appointed emergency manager switched Flint's water supply to save money. This was done without properly treating the pipes and exposing the drinking water to lead, leading to elevated lead levels in children's blood.

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This led to a health crisis and 12 people died from Legionnaires' disease during this time. However, numerous studies have shown that the learning losses many feared did not occur, Bridge reported.

The judge is overseeing Flint's pursuit of the terms of a $97 million legal settlement involving Flint, the state, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Concerned Pastors for Social Action, Flint resident Melissa Mays and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

That settlement required the city to expose utility lines in about 31,500 homes and replace those made of lead or galvanized steel. The work was originally scheduled to be completed in 2020 but was repeatedly delayed.

This spring, Lawson accused Flint of contempt of court because the company had not completed the work.

The city last week completed the utility line replacements required under the settlement, but about 1,900 homes still need repairs after previous pipe replacements damaged lawns, sidewalks and driveways.

The state has pledged to complete the repairs by August 2025 if it receives approval to take over. It estimates the cost of the work will be more than $4.75 million.

Flint officials said they lacked the money to do the work because only $1 million of the state funds the city used for the work remained.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to the 2017 settlement praised the state's decision to intervene, saying it was long overdue.

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