Contaminated Water Pipes In Flint Will Be Replaced By Black-Owned Construction Company
The water crisis in Flint, Mich. began in 2014, and now three years later, the city’s residents still do not have clean water and are instructed to use bottled water for drinking, bathing, cleaning and cooking. Developments to replace the lead-corroded pipes have started slowly but surely.
Some good news is a Black-owned construction firm, W.T. Stevens Construction, has been awarded a multi-million dollar service contract to replace more than 18, 000 lead-contaminated pipes across Flint. The firm has 25 employees and is one of four companies who have been contracted under court order to replace the pipes. This comes after a settlement of $97 million in March 2017 (from both state and federal funds) which was approved by a federal magistrate mandating thousands of the pipes be replaced. The state of Michigan has also committed to pitching in $10 million if needed.
The construction company was founded by the late Black entrepreneur, W.T. Stevens in the 1990s. Now, his daughter Rhonda Gray is the company’s Vice President. She works with her husband, Jeff Grayer, who is the Project Manager. As Flint natives, their love for the city and Michigan runs deep.
A fun fact about Jeff is he is a former NBA player who was in the league for more than 10 years and player for the Golden State Warriors and the Milwaukee Bucks.
In an interview with TNJ.com, Mr. Grayer said of his company getting the contract to replace the pipes in Flint, “This is home for me and my family and I wasn’t going to sit back and do nothing as a person or as a businessman. This is the biggest project our company has ever done and as a result of the water line contract our gross revenues have increased by about 70 percent.”
Mr. Grayer has a goal of getting 6, 000 water lines replaced by the end of the year.
“The target is to have all 18,000 lead corroded residential pipes replaced by December 2019,” he said.
Mrs. Grayer spoke to TheHubFlint.com on helping the community rebuild, saying, “It is really exciting, and the most important part of it is the opportunity to employ people who may not have had other opportunities. This is a major project that will ensure public safety and start rebuilding trust between the city and the community… something that has been missing awhile.”
Mrs. Grayer said her father would be “very, very proud or where we are at this time.”
Hopefully, the water pipes in Flint don’t take too long to be replaced.