As Flint’s water crisis bulldozes forward, there is another Michigan city taking preemptive measures to protect its citizens from lead poisoning. Lansing’s Board of Water and Light has been replacing aging, lead-riddled water pipes with copper before a problem even starts. The local government working to prevent causing its citizens harm is leaving locals shocked.
Just 50 miles west of Flint lies the state capital, which draws its water from the 400-feet deep Saginaw Aquifer. Lansing’s officials started the copper pipe replacement project ten years ago, without the courts or public outcry demanding they do so. Operating under the radical idea that no amount of lead exposure is a safe amount, mayor Virgil Bernero started the $42 million plan to replace all 14,000 of the city’s pipes.
The public’s reaction to the plan has been mixed, mostly due to suspicion that the mission must mean the drinking water is unsafe. Board of Water and Light’s executive director of public affairs, Steve Serkaian, said to Next City, “When we show up at homes to replace the lead service lines, people think there’s a problem with the water.” They are surprised to learn the city is taking care of the issue before they are in harm’s way, rather than after. There are now only 325 pipes left to replace, with completion of the project projected for 2017. With any hope, this communities approach to public safety may serve as an inspiration to others around the country.
Via New City