Judge rules additional Flint homes must have their pipes replaced

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 7:53 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (10/14/2020) - Yet another twist in the efforts to look for -- and replace -- lead pipes in the homes of Flint residents.

The city was in the home stretch of that process -- but a new court decision is forcing more changes.

A federal judge has ordered the city to now check pipes in *newer* neighborhoods to see if they could be contributing to contamination.

But, the order is meeting resistance from top Flint officials.

The homes in both the University Park Estates area and Smith Village are more recent builds from the 1990s and later, with copper, not lead or galvanized steel piping.

Judge David Lawson said the city of Flint must abide by a settlement that calls for all Flint residences under that agreement to have their water lines replaced.

In a written oral argument obtained by ABC12, city attorney Angela Wheeler said the city recently recovered missing plot files for most of the 180 properties in question in both neighborhoods, and can show all but six homes have had copper pipes installed.

Wheeler also said any additional measures to those properties would be “unwarranted and unnecessary”, costing more than $230,000 dollars.

Residents I talked to said they wouldn’t mind having their pipes checked, even after on-going monitoring and testing.

“We welcome them to come and test our pipes too. We want to be as safe as we can be. With everything else going on, and still issues with the water, let’s just get it done,” said nearly 20 year University Park Estates resident Gwen Varney.

“We’ve been here in this area for a little over a year," added Gina Moton, another University Park Estates Resident. "And so, I just assumed that it was included and all of the surveys and checks and things like that.”

Gina’s husband James Lee Moton commented, “I think that all of Flint should be checked. Because, that to me, that’s very important.”

While nobody from the city would go on-camera to comment, due to ongoing litigation, Flint Mayor Sheldon Neely issued this statement saying, “We’ve worked hard to overcome the issues we inherited and remain steadfastly committed to fixing Flint’s infrastructure for all of Flint’s residents.”

So far, the city has replaced lead or galvanized steel piping in more than 9700 homes and excavated more than 26,000.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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