Contractors have until Friday to meet their court-ordered deadline.
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) — The clock is ticking for the city of Flint to complete the replacement of lead utility lines. Contractors have until Friday to meet their court-ordered deadline.
The service line replacement program resulted from a 2016 civil complaint brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The 2016 settlement of that complaint originally had a 2020 deadline. Since then it has been postponed several times.
“We were poisoned. And that was the solution that helped us to be whole. And it should be a priority,” said Michelle Young, who lives in Flint.
She first applied for a pipe replacement in 2019. She even applied again in 2021 and tried to move on in the summer of 2022 – but still no one has come out to verify it. All she knows is that she’s “still on the list.”
And she’s not the only one frustrated by the situation.
“They negotiated that deadline in September. And here again this administration is faced with another deadline and they haven’t got the job done,” Flint vicar Allen Overton told ABC12.
His group, Concerned Pastors for Social Action, was one of the plaintiffs in the 2016 lawsuit that led to the replacement program.
Overton and the NRDC said hundreds of people in the city are waiting to have their lines replaced.
However, that doesn’t mean the job wasn’t done. At a conference Thursday, Sept. 22, Mayor Sheldon Neeley said the city has made tremendous progress.
“28,500 need to be replaced. We have currently replaced or inspected 27,000 homes, which means we are more than 90% complete,” said Neeley.
But for Young and other unprovided residents, that does little to ease their uncertainty about the future.
“If I have to replace it, do I have to pay for it? Instead of the state paying for something they caused,” Young lamented
The $97 million for this project comes from the state of Michigan. But if Flint doesn’t finish the job on time, the rest of the money goes back to the state.