State of Michigan: Flint enters final phase of lead service line replacement

FLINT, Mich. – September 30, 2022

The City of Flint and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced today that the city has reached a major milestone of 95 percent of lead service lines replaced, capping off a multi-million dollar residential lead line replacement program and water system infrastructure modernization effort.

Flint has signed a $17.9 million contract with Lakeshore Global Corporation to complete the final phase of lead service line replacement targeting roughly 1,600 remaining water service lines. The lines will be excavated and replaced with new copper pipe if lead or galvanized pipe is found. EGLE estimates that roughly 30 percent of the remaining lines will be lead or galvanized.

Federal Water infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act grant dollars are expected to provide the bulk of the funding.

The 1,600 remaining lines represent the last five percent of suspected lead service lines in the city. The city has already completed 27,428 water service line excavations.

“This is great news and we’re making great strides,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “I’m so happy to announce that we’ve reached 95 percent completion and we’re moving forward beyond all of our challenges.”

The pace of service line work slowed during the past several months as the city completed major infrastructure upgrades to the Flint water plant and worked through pandemic, supply chain, and contractor issues.

In May of this year, Flint completed a nearly year-long, multi-million dollar infrastructure project modernizing the city’s water plant and establishing a critical secondary connection to Lake Huron.

At the center of this important infrastructure project is a $14 million pipeline connecting Flint to the Genesee County Drain Commissioner’s water treatment plant which, like Flint’s main supplier the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), sources water from Lake Huron.

This new emergency back-up pipeline proved its value when it provided an immediate back-up supply of water to the city in August when GLWA encountered a water main failure. The GLWA line failure would have severely impacted Flint had it not been for the back-up pipeline.

Other significant water infrastructure upgrades include:

  • Construction completed this year on a new, $5 million chemical feed building featuring state-of-art controls monitoring and treating water entering the water plant
  • $22 million in water main replacements
  • $11 million in new water meters

“We applaud the city’s steadfast work toward this milestone,” said EGLE director Liesl Clark. “The team at EGLE including the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate stand ready to help in the final stage of this effort. We want to hear from residents who suspect they may still have a lead service line. There is still more work to be done and EGLE is committed to working with the City of Flint to complete this critical infrastructure work.” 

City officials urge any remaining water customers who may potentially have lead service lines to call the city at 810-410-1133 and opt into the city’s free replacement program.

Flint is now in its sixth year of meeting state and federal standards for lead in drinking water. Since July 2016, the city of Flint’s water system has tested below action levels for the state’s Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) during 12 consecutive monitoring periods.

Michigan in 2018 adopted the nation’s toughest lead rules for drinking water. The state’s Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) requires that all lead service lines in the state be removed.

Flint’s testing results can be found by visiting https://www.michigan.gov/flintwater/. Additional information about Michigan’s new testing requirements and results state-wide can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/mileadsafe/. The State of Michigan’s Mi Lead Safe web site includes valuable guidance and information on reducing lead exposure.