A black-owned construction company, WT Stevens Construction, has been awarded a federally funded service contract that is set to replace thousands of corroded water pipes in Flint, Michigan. The state has contracted the WT, along with three other companies, as part of a $97 million settlement to replace corroded pipes by 2020.
The three companies will replace the network of more than 18,000 pipes running across the city. The vice president of the family-owned company, Rhonda Grayer, told The HUB Flint that this contract is the “biggest project we’ve done.”
According to MLive, WT Stevens’ landed a $10.9 million contract with the city to replace the service lines. The company will be responsible for addresses in Wards 3, 4, 8 and 9. The city allotted a total of $25 million for the project giving WT the largest contract for their service. Grayer’s husband, Jeff Grayer, serves as the project manager. He told TNJ that about 800 waterlines have been replaces so far and he hopes to have 6,000 replaced by the end of 2017.
“Our company is usually the only African American-owned business to respond to request for proposals for various Flint city contracts even now after the court rulings related to the water crisis,” he said. “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.” He said the goal is to “have all 18,000 lead-corroded residential pipes replaced by December 2019.”
The company has hired about 20 staff members, including ex-offenders and young people, and a video team to document the piping being replaced. Grayer said she’s following the example her late dad and founder of the company set for making a positive impact on the community. “I will tell you that it is really exciting and the most important part of it is the opportunity to employ people who may not have had other opportunities,” she told The HUB Flint.