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Mayor Sheldon Neeley hit the streets of Flint today (Dec. 19, 2019), personally going door-to-door at potential water testing locations to ask homeowners to participate.
The City of Flint is facing a Dec. 31 deadline to conduct water quality tests at homes most at risk for having lead service lines. The city must test at least 60 homes that fit very specific criteria to remain in compliance with the federal Lead and Copper Rule and state Safe Drinking Water Act.
The City of Flint missed its last reporting deadline in July, fulfilling that requirement for testing in September. That missed deadline put city crews behind headed into the current reporting period.
Just a few weeks into his term and with the deadline looming, Mayor Neeley decided to personally visit homes that meet the requirement for Tier I testing. Along the way, he met Corunna Road resident Honey Buhlman.
Buhlman had thought she would have to pay for the testing. When the mayor told her it would be free, she readily agreed and encouraged others to also participate.
“This is for your protection as well as ours. They are trying to make things right for us,” Buhlman said. “Please just get your water tested.”
The city has been working with experts from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and neighborhood liaisons from the Community Outreach and Resident Education (CORE) teams operated through the United Way in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to identify and visit eligible households to ask for their participation in the Tier I testing program.
“I would never in a million years have imagined that I would end my day after cancer treatments meeting the mayor of Flint,” Buhlman said. “It shows they care. It shows that Flint does matter.”
All communities in Michigan must conduct Tier I testing, but because of ongoing service line replacement work the effort is more challenging in Flint than most communities.
“I always promised the residents of Flint that I would be a working mayor. This is what it is all about — all of us working together for the betterment of our community,” Mayor Neeley said.