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Grand Haven gears up to biggest lead line replacement project ever

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Posted at 8:34 PM, Mar 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-19 22:24:51-04

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Grand Haven is getting ready for one of its biggest projects ever. The city is planning to replace around 600 lead lines.

It will cost the city roughly $3 million, which is coming from a federal grant.

The plan is to use this cash to get a major chunk of the total city's lead lines out of the ground.

"We're working, will hopefully commence in May, early May," Grand Haven Public Works Director Derek Gajdos told FOX 17.

Grand Haven is gearing up for its largest lead line replacement project ever this spring.

They're trying to get a six-year project done in two years, said Gajdos.

"The scale of [this project] approximately 40% of the city's lead service lines, and, you know, there's a lot of them out there to do. So, we're... 600 to do over two years is a tall task."

The city is joining many other cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Kalamazoo as they work to replace lead lines.

RELATED: Improved weather conditions speed up service line replacement in Benton Harbor

Lead is a known neurotoxin that causes damage to the brain, liver and bones.

Michigan has set a requirement to have all cities get the lead lines out of the ground in 20 years.

"There are six areas that we're going to concentrate on. This neighborhood will have approximately 100 homes in them that we'll be targeting," Gajdos said.

The city recently awarded Wadel Stabilization out of Hart to start working.

Gajdos says that the city doesn't have a plan for which area is going to have work done first.

"We'll definitely concentrate on each area first before we move on to the next," he added.

In two years, the city still has more lead lines to replace when this project is done.

Gajdos says there are roughly 1,000 to 1,200 lines that need to go.

"The city specified copper water services. It's been our standard for decades after we stopped using galvanized and lead fittings," he said.

Despite the state ordering cities to replace lead lines, Lansing isn't helping cover any costs.

So, in 2019, Grand Haven started adding an extra charge to its water bill to pay for lead line replacement.

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