BWL finishing water system restructuring; July 2017 target date

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) – The problems of what to do about aging infrastructures is not just a Flint concern.  Many communities have aging lead pipes. Including Lansing.  The Capitol City is ahead of the curve when it comes to replacing old pipes.  How is the local utility treating Lansing’s underground water system?

The number of lines to be replaced started in the thousands but after gradual work those numbers have been whittled.

Lansing Board of Water and Light General Manager Dick Peffley said, “we’ve done about 13,500 (lines) and we have about 620 left as of today.  We’re replacing about 1 to 2 services a day.”

A Lansing Board of Water and Light crew is out daily trying to replace the pipe system. How do they know where they are located?

“Our records indicated that there is a lead service underneath the street that we need to replace,” said Lansing Board of Water and Light Executive Director of Public Affairs Stephen Serkaian.

Lansing resident Dennis Cook is glad to see this happen saying, “I’ve had it replaced from the curb into my house way back in ’76, but they want to make sure there’s no lead from the main to the water box.”

With the BWL digging away since 2004, there’s still more work to be done.  After a decade’s worth of experience, the work has become almost second nature.

“Takes about four hours on a good day, where it took about 9 hours to do a trench and there was a lot of restorations with that trenchwork and it’s about half the cost also.  It cost about $3,600 to pull a lead service out where it used to $9,000 depending on the restoration when we did an open trench,” said Peffley.

Improvements in the underground work made efforts faster and more cost-effective, according to General Manager Dick Peffley.  He believes they can finish the project by July 2017.

Representatives from the Lansing Board of Water and Light also say they are keeping their doors open to help Flint.  According to BWL officials, they can give a demonstration to Flint workers that could help them with their service lines.

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