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Michigan willing to spend millions to restore Flint properties ripped up by pipe replacement

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DETROIT (AP) — The state of Michigan said it’s willing to step in and oversee property repairs at 1,900 homes in Flint where water pipes have been inspected or replaced but the grounds remain a mess.

The city in March was found in civil contempt by a judge after blowing past deadlines to get the work done, years after a water switch in Flint in 2014 caused lead to leach off old pipes, spoiling the drinking water system.

Between 10,000 and 11,000 lead or galvanized steel pipes have been replaced out of 30,000 water lines that were excavated and checked, under a lawsuit settlement between Flint and residents, the Natural Resources Defense Council said.

“But there are 1,900 homes where the city has not gone back to fix the property,” NRDC attorney Sarah Tallman said, noting broken driveways and sidewalks and ripped-up lawns.

In a court filing, the state asked U.S. District Judge David Lawson to allow it to step in.

“The state has agreed to assume responsibility for managing the work being conducted by the city’s contractors, including payment of additional funds required to complete that work,” the attorney general’s office said Wednesday.

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said the city is grateful for the help. The balance of the work will likely cost more than $4.75 million.

“We welcome the state’s involvement,” Tallman said. “Our goal is just to finish the job. It’s already years overdue, and the city has not lived up to its commitments.”

Nearly $100 million for the pipe replacement project came from state and federal governments. Flint returned to a Detroit-area water supplier in fall 2015.

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Follow Ed White at https://twitter.com/edwritez

By ED WHITE
Associated Press

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