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FLINT, Mich. (AP) -- Flint residents could still be a few years away from drinking unfiltered tap water as the city makes incremental progress on an ambitious -- if not overly optimistic -- timeframe to replace old water service lines that leached lead into homes and businesses.
Retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael McDaniel, who coordinates the FAST Start initiative, said he has a goal of finishing the pipe replacements for residents in 2019 by fixing service lines to 6,000 homes a year. The city has estimated that lines to 20,000 homes need to be replaced.
"So far, I'd say it's been going slow," McDaniel said. "We wanted to replace 1,000 service lines in the city of Flint in 2016 and we are still working on that contract even today because we've had a fairly warm winter."
As of last week, lines to fewer than 800 homes had been replaced with new copper pipe. The effort has been plagued by problems that include inaccurate records on the location of pipes and the type of material used in them. Funding for the project beyond this year is also uncertain.