FLINT, MI (WNEM) –
The Mayor of Flint is firing back at the state over its proposal to find lead water lines using a method she says is too risky.
The city of Flint is years into the process of replacing roughly 20,000 lead service lines.
Half of the battle has been identifying which ones are lead.
The project is funded largely by state and federal money. The state has recommended hydro-excavation to identify those lines.
Mayor Karen Weaver criticizes the method saying it can miss lead lines where traditional excavation would have done the job right.
Hydro-excavation uses highly pressurized water to cut away the soil and a vacuum sucks out the water and mud so crews can see underground utility lines.
It is considered a much cheaper alternative to traditional excavation.
Weaver said cutting corners led to the crisis in the first place.
“They told us to drink up. They told us the water was safe. They didn’t test it and they put saving a buck over saving a life. And we’re not doing that again,” Weaver said.
In a statement to TV5, the Department of Environmental Quality said in part, when excavated properly, the DEQ believes hydro-excavation is an extremely effective and reliable method of identifying service line composition.
The DEQ also said several communities use hydro-excavation when replacing service lines.
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