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Project manager stops working on Flint water service lines for lack of contract

Rowe Professional Services stopped work Tuesday after the Flint City Council didn’t approve an extension
Crews hydro-excavate in front of a Flint home to determine the composition of its water...
Crews hydro-excavate in front of a Flint home to determine the composition of its water service line. (WJRT)
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 5:10 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Work on the final leg of the Flint water service line replacement project has stopped after Mayor Sheldon Neeley said the Flint City Council failed to approve a contract extension.

Neeley said Rowe Professional Services has notified the city that it stopped work on Tuesday. The move comes after he said the council met for seven hours Monday night and did not approve a contract extension with the company.

Rowe Professional Services has worked as the project manager for the citywide water service line replacement.

“It is unconscionable for our work to be stalled when so many have been negatively impacted by lead contamination,” said Neeley. “This is blatant filibustering designed to delay and distract us from moving our community forward. People should always be placed over politics.”

He called on city council members to “do the right thing” and approve the extended contract with Rowe so the project can be completed this year.

Neeley said contractors have checked water service lines running from the street into 26,000 residences across Flint over the past five years. More than 9,500 water lines made of lead or galvanized steel were replaced with copper pipes at no charge to residents.

The remaining water service lines already were copper and not deemed a hazard to residents.

The Flint water crisis happened in 2014 and 2015 because the city’s water source switched to the Flint River, which has more corrosive water. The water wasn’t treated properly, so it ate away the protective lining in water service lines.

That allowed microscopic bits of lead to flake off and enter homes’ drinking water and poison the residents.

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