The Latest: Lead pipe timeline splits governor, Flint mayor

AP News
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Posted: Feb 17, 2016 2:48 PM

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The latest on the lead contamination in Flint's drinking water (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says it will take an engineering firm a month to identify lead pipes connected to Flint residents' homes, but he wants to see a "very short timeline" for some of the service lines to begin being replaced.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, meanwhile, said Wednesday that she intends to begin replacing pipes next week and lawmakers should quickly OK funding proposed last week by Snyder. Flint is under a state of emergency because corrosive water was allowed to leach lead from pipes into the supply.

Snyder, who declined to say pipe replacement should begin next week, cautions that taking out pipes too quickly could have unintended consequences.

Rowe Professional Services was hired Tuesday to conduct a $500,000 study, including locating thousands of lead lines running from water mains to homes and businesses. Snyder says officials do not know the composition of 10,000 service lines still.

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9:15 a.m.

A Michigan legislative committee has approved spending $30 million to help cover the water bills of Flint residents confronting a lead-contaminated supply.

The budget legislation unanimously OK'd Wednesday moves to the full House for consideration, possibly later in the day. It won approval from the Senate nearly two weeks ago.

The bill backed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder would cover about two-thirds of the water portion of people's water/sewer bills, dating back nearly two years. Republicans blocked Democrats' attempt to spend $60 million to fully cover waters bills, including water not consumed or used to cook or bathe.

Separately, Snyder is pushing $165 million in additional spending over this fiscal year and next for lead pipe replacement, bottled water, filters, health care and other services.

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6 a.m.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says he wants to connect health care providers with community support networks as part of an effort to help Flint residents amid the city's crisis with lead-tainted water.

Murthy heard from residents Tuesday after meeting Monday with doctors, social workers, students and others. He says he heard "stories of anger and pain but also of resilience and strength."

Murthy also says those affected in Flint are "motivated to be a part of things to make it better."

Separately on Tuesday night, hundreds of people packed an informational meeting about lawsuits related to the water crisis. Environmental activist Erin Brockovich is part of the effort and addressed the crowd via an audio feed.

Brockovich urged residents to test their water for lead and get blood tests.