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Chris Ehrmann, Associated Press
In a photo from March 10, 2017, work continues on the water replacement lines in Flint, Mich. Flint residents could still be a few years away from drinking unfiltered tap water as the city makes incremental progress on an ambitious timeframe to replace old water service lines that leached lead into homes and businesses. The project's coordinator said he has a goal of finishing the pipe replacements for residents in 2019 by fixing 6,000 service lines a year.

FLINT, Mich. — Drinkable unfiltered tap water for residents in Flint might still be a few years away.

Retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael McDaniel, who is heading the pipe replacement program, says he has an optimistic goal of 2019 for all lead piping to be replaced in the neighborhoods.

McDaniel says pipe replacements are expected to pick up in late April. Construction crews are replacing the old lead lines with new copper ones in neighborhoods most affected.

So far, less than 800 homes have been replaced, but an estimated 20,000 lines need to be replaced. The goal will be to target 6,000 homes a year between 10 different zones in the city. Several issues such as inaccurate city records and monetary issues have hindered progression.