Residents approached by anyone asking for money to repair pipes on behalf of the City of Flint are asked to report the incidents to police.
The FAST Start program, designed to ensure removal and replacement of lead service lines and galvanized steel service lines throughout the community, has become a guise for impostors recently, city officials say.
“Residents are not expected to shoulder any of the burden when it comes to pipe replacement,” says Robert Bincsik, director of the Department of Public Works. “If residents are being approached and asked for money to fix their pipes or perform any work inside or outside of their home, we are asking that they call the Flint Police Department and report the individual immediately. If the resident feels uncomfortable they do not have to allow access to their home.”
Authorized FAST Start employees carry job identification and operate vehicles that display their affiliation with the service.
“FAST Start has been successful thusfar, and we want to continue in that success,” Mayor Karen Weaver says. “While we are doing work aimed at fixing the pipes and regaining trust from the residents, we have to be mindful that there are some individuals who would look to capitalize on the crisis. FAST Start workers will always properly identify themselves.”
In the wake of the city’s water emergency, Weaver launched FAST Start to first address the needs of households including those with young children, children with elevated blood levels, pregnant women, seniors, residents with compromised immune systems, and residential daycare programs. The service has continued in stages to help remedy health risks posed to as many as 29,100 homes containing lead service lines or galvanized steel service lines.
Results of a 2016 study by University of Michigan professors supporting the FAST Start effort revealed an estimate that more than half the city’s 55,000 residential parcels required pipe replacement.
“These findings make it even more imperative that the state and federal government step up and pay for replacing the lead-tainted service lines leading to residents’ homes,” Mayor Karen Weaver said at the time.
The police non-emergency telephone number to report impostors posing as FAST Start is (810) 237-6800.