a nonprofit media outlet for water solutions
January 19, 2021
waterloop #71: Getting Flint's Lead Pipes Out of the Ground

As the drinking water crisis unfolded in Flint, it became clear that removing all of the lead pipes to people’s homes would be a daunting challenge. Among the reasons - a lack of records on locations, competing approaches for the order,


As the drinking water crisis unfolded in Flint, it became clear that removing all of the lead pipes to people’s homes would be a daunting challenge. Among the reasons - a lack of records on locations, competing approaches for the order, and a community that was distrustful and in many ways disconnected. But more than five years later most lead pipes are out of the ground. In this episode reflections on the experience and lessons learned are shared by Ben Pauli, Assistant Professor at Kettering University, Jared Webb, Chief Data Scientist at BlueConduit, and Mona Munroe-Yousif, Executive Director of the Environmental Transformation Movement of Flint. On the technical side, the use of data, machine learning, and predictive analytics proved to be highly effective for locating lead lines. On the human side, community outreach was vital, including engagement with diverse groups, gathering a range of input, and forging new partnerships.

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