For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Margie Kelly, mkelly@nrdc.org, 541-222-9699

City Misleads Flint Residents: Thousands of Lead Pipes Likely Remain in Flint

Flint, MI - Today’s statements from Flint’s Mayor Karen Weaver announcing that the City has excavated more than 18,000 service lines were an improper characterization of the legal settlement on lead service line replacements in Flint. That settlement requires the City to target excavations at homes most likely to have hazardous lead and steel pipes, but the City has not done so; more than 80% of the City’s excavations this year were of homes with copper pipes.

To date, the City has replaced only 7,700 lead and steel service lines, leaving University of Michigan experts to conclude that thousands of hazardous pipes likely remain in the ground. Under the settlement, the City must seek out and remove Flint’s lead and galvanized steel pipes by 2020.

Following are reactions from groups associated with the lawsuit governing the replacement of lead service lines in Flint:

“It’s the number of lead pipes removed that matters, not the number of holes dug. The City needs to finish the job of finding and replacing the lead pipes in Flint, as our agreement demands that they do.” says Pastor Allen C. Overton of Concerned Pastors for Social Action, a plaintiff in the Concerned Pastors case. 

“The Mayor’s press conference today was misleading and inaccurate. The City is well aware that it has not fulfilled its obligations under the Concerned Pastors settlement. We fought for an agreement that requires the City to get the lead pipes out, not just dig holes,” said Dimple Chaudhary, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  

“Why should we congratulate the Mayor for digging up 18,000 holes, when she’s not even trying to find the dangerous lead pipes? The City is wasting time and money by digging up thousands of copper pipes while many lead pipes go unexcavated,” said Melissa Mays, plaintiff in the Concerned Pastors case. 

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