‘This is urgent’: Mayor Sheldon Neeley calls on all residents to allow service lines to be replaced

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FLINT, Michigan—The City of Flint will continue accepting consent forms from residents to have their home’s service lines checked for lead and replaced free of charge — but all residents are asked to urgently respond.

The deadline to consent to service is today, Sept. 18, 2020, based on a joint agreement between the City of Flint and the National Resources Defense Council. This was an extension of a November 2019 deadline and part of Mayor Neeley’s ongoing work to “Get the Lead Out.” 

“I urge all residents: Please immediately consent to having your service lines checked and replaced,” Mayor Neeley said. “We still have crews in the field replacing pipes, so we can still accept consent forms — but this needs to be done now. This is urgent.”

It is uncertain how many more days the City will be able to continue accepting consent forms after the Sept. 18 deadline. Mayor Neeley said the City will accept the forms as long as possible, but work crew availability and weather could without notice force completion of the project. The City is under pressure to complete all work including property restoration by a Nov. 30, 2020, deadline set in the agreement with the NRDC and by a Dec. 31, 2020 state funding deadline.

A crew of City employees, partners, and work crews have been accepting consent forms for more than four years as part of the service line replacement project. To opt-in to the service line replacement program, residents may:

Call:                810-410-1133
Email:             [email protected]
Online:           cityofflint.com/GetTheLeadOut
Mail:               Flint City Hall
                       DPW Service line replacement program
                       1101 S. Saginaw St.
                       Flint, MI  48502

Consent forms are available at the front desk in Flint City Hall. Residents as well as partner organizations also can download consent forms to share with friends and neighbors at www.CityofFlint.com/GetTheLeadOut.

Work crews continue to go door-to-door to households that have not yet had their pipes checked. They carry consent forms with them so homeowners can agree on-the-spot. Pipes are excavated and replaced if they contain lead or galvanized steel AT NO COST TO RESIDENTS.

Even after filing a consent form, someone over the age of 18 must be home while work crews perform excavation and service line replacement. 

Both the City and NRDC agreed to the extended Sept. 18, 2020, deadline in part because of 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.

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.

Ongoing testing shows water quality inside the City of Flint remains stable and well below federal action levels. The most recent testing completed June 30, 2020 reports that even in places where lead service lines still are being used the 90th percentile lead levels are at 4 parts per billion, far below federal action levels. 

“We still want to Get the Lead Out of Flint — completely,” Mayor Neeley said. “While anything more than zero lead is more than we want, we are glad to see our water quality is stable and even testing better than many other communities.”

Because of the high rate of replacing lead service lines in the City of Flint and because testing was so woefully behind when this administration came into office, the city has continued to struggle to meet monitoring requirements. Water sample collection also was shut down for more than two months because of COVID-19 and the statewide stay home orders. In all the City of Flint collected 120 water samples, 49 of which qualified for required lead and copper monitoring for the testing period from January to June 2020.

“EGLE recognizes the City put forth a significant effort, despite the significant challenge posed by the COVID 19 pandemic. This effort included utilizing firefighters to conduct community outreach in order to obtain additional samples as well as the establishment of a team of health navigators dedicated to providing additional outreach to residents. As you know, the City faces unique challenges with establishing and maintaining a pool of sampling sites due to the rapid pace of lead service line replacement,” Eric J. Oswald, director of the Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division in the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, wrote in a letter to the City notifying it of the monitoring results.

The City of Flint will work to identify 90 Tier 2 testing locations to supplement future lead and copper monitoring, as recommended by EGLE.

“We will continue to move forward in a positive direction,” Mayor Neeley said. “Step by step, we continue to work together to make progress and strengthen our community.”

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