Even as the disastrous water crisis in Flint was unfolding, there was a city in Michigan that was well underway replacing the lead service lines that cause so many problems.
For WDET’s Book Club, Detroit Today listeners are reading Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s book, “What the Eyes don’t See.” Lansing stands out as one of the only cities in America — and the only one in Michigan — to have replaced every one of its lead service lines, mostly without any interruption to residents homes.
“We need this to be a priority. The things under the ground can hurt you, and they have,” says Virg Bernero, former Lansing mayor. “The people of Flint should not be complacent.”
In Lansing, the work was completed before there was a crisis to report. The city reached out to Marc Edwards, a water quality expert at Virginia Tech, to find out more about their water system. A task force was formed and a $42 million was invested in replacing every pipe in the city. Twelve years later, they accomplished their goal.
Bernero joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about that process, the challenges and opposition the city faced and what lessons cities today can take away from their story.
Click the player above to hear host Stephen Henderson interview former Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero about replacing the city’s lead pipes.