Everyone living on the planet has the fundamental right to clean water.
But as we all know many people in third world countries do not have access to it.
It’s even harder to comprehend that in a country as affluent as America why years have gone by and Flint, Michigan residents still have no access to clean water.
But now a Black-owned construction firm, has been awarded a multi-million dollar service contract to replace more than 18,000 lead corroded pipes across the city of Flint.
The construction firm, made-up of 25 employees, is one of just four companies recently contracted under a court order to finally give Flint residents the clean water they deserve.
The Flint water crisis hit the headlines in 2014 when over 100,000 residents were potentially exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water.
The federal state declared it an emergency in 2016. Flint residents were instructed to use only bottled or filtered water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing.
The quality of the water has reached an acceptable level this year – but residents have still been advised to continue to use bottled or filtered water until all the lead pipes have been replaced.
In March 2017, a $97 million settlement was approved by a federal magistrate. It decreed that thousands of pipes must be replaced.
The state of Michigan has also made a commitment to reserve an additional $10 million in case by any chance the funds run out.
Now black owned company W.T. Stevens has been given the contract to replace the lead pipes.
Rhonda Grayer is the vice president of W.T Stevens. Her late father founded the company in the 1990’s. Her husband Jeff Grayer serves as a project manager.
Both are natives of Flint, Michigan. Jeff is also a former NBA player who played for the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks for more than 10 years.
“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,” Mr. Grayer said in an interview with TNJ.com.
“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,” he added.
Mr Grayer is optimistic that 6,000 water lines will replaced in the city by the end of this year. “The target is to have all 18,000 lead corroded residential pipes replaced by December 2019,” he said.
“It is really exciting, and the most important part of it is the opportunity to employ people who may not have had other opportunities,” said Mrs. Grayer in a separate interview with TheHubFlint.com.
“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,” noted Mr. Grayer.
And just how proud would Mrs. Grayer’s father W.T. Stevens feel if he were alive to see such an incredible achievement?
Mrs. Grayer adds, “Now, it is definitely a family business. We all do something. I think he would be very, very proud of where we are at this time.”