Mayor's Office

Hydro-excavation Work Underway Once Again in Flint

Crews Expected to Check 6,000 Addresses for Lead and Galvanized Pipes in 2018

April 26, 2018 (FLINT, Mich) ― Mayor Karen Weaver is excited to announce that hydro-excavation crews began work in Flint neighborhoods today. Flint residents should expect to see Martha Brown Custom Builders/Badger Hydrovac trucks in various neighborhoods throughout the City, now through early fall.

“I am so glad that the Hydrovac process is once again underway,” said Mayor Weaver. “It is a faster and more cost effective way to determine which water service lines are made of lead, or galvanized steel and need to be replaced, and which are copper and should be okay.”

The hydro-excavation trucks use pressurized water and an industrial-strength vacuum to dig two small holes near the water curb box down to the service line, allowing crews to identify what material the service line is made of. The holes are backfilled and the site restored once the service line is checked. Service lines at approximately 6,000 homes will be checked this year as part of the Hydrovac Exploration portion of Phase V of the Mayor’s FAST Start pipe replacement program, so FAST Start crews know which homes already have copper service lines. Residents will be informed of the results of the hydro-excavation.

Martha Brown Custom Builders is the company awarded the contract to perform the hydro-excavation work in 2018. Three trucks are out working now, with additional trucks expected to be added as operations progress. Crews began working in the area of West Wood and Lyon Streets. The work will spread throughout the City over the next several months.

It is estimated that up to 12,000 or so Flint residences still have lead and galvanized service lines that need to be replaced. The pipe replacement work is expected to be completed by 2020.

“While the beginning of 2020 is the projected completion date, with the progress being made I am hopeful that we can complete the project even sooner,” Weaver added.

In addition to the hydro-excavation work, three contractors are also out replacing lead and galvanized service lines. Crews resumed work last week to replace lead-tainted service lines leading to homes in Flint as part of Mayor Weaver’s FAST Start initiative. Flint City officials have directed contractors to mobilize crews and equipment to resume replacing lead and galvanized water service lines that were part of the addresses provided to them in the 2017 Phase IV project area. The work being done is part of the final stages of Phase IV of the service line replacement project, which was placed on hold in December due to impending winter weather conditions.

As of April 18, 2018, the total number of lines replaced is 6,264 and more than 2,500 full copper lines have been identified since FAST Start launched in March 2016. To be eligible to have their service lines replaced, residents must have an active water account. They also must have signed a consent form giving permission for the work to be done. In rental homes, both the owner and the tenant must sign a consent form. Residents whose homes receive new service lines are urged to flush their water before and after the pipe replacement. Field personnel will provide residents with detailed instructions.

Mayor Weaver launched her FAST Start initiative to help resolve a number of problems created after a state-appointed emergency manager switched the City’s water source to the Flint River in 2014 without the necessary corrosion control chemicals being added. The corrosive water removed a protective coating on the inside of the pipes, causing lead to leach into the water flowing to homes and businesses in the City of Flint. While the water quality in Flint has improved since the City switched back to water delivered from Lake Huron by the Great Lakes Water Authority, residents still are being urged to drink only filtered water, and to replace their filters when needed.

Map of 2018 Phase 5 HydroExcavation Exploration Areas