FLINT (WWJ/AP) – The state of Michigan will pay all Flint water bills in May to encourage the flushing of lead from old pipes and the recoating of plumbing with a corrosion chemical.

Mayor Karen Weaver was flanked at the podium at Flint City Hall by Gov. Rick Snyder, federal EPA and health department officials as she urged residents to flush their pipes while the state is picking up the tab.

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Weaver gave specific instructions.

“So to flush your pipes, we want you to run water in your bathtub for five minutes and then do the same at your kitchen sink after, after turning off the filter,” the mayor said. “That should reduce lead levels in the water.”

The state previously pledged to pay for extra consumption associated with residents being asked to run water for a certain period each day for two weeks. But to encourage more people to participate, Michigan now will cover bills entirely this month.

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It’s estimated it will cost $1.7 million.

Flint, which has about 100,000 residents, is recovering from using the Flint River for 18 months without corrosion control. The water leached lead from pipes. The city switched back to another source in October.

The EPA’s Mark Darnell Thursday said, along with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) officials they will know more about the lead in the line from tap to main by June, after data comes back from their second round of diagnosing.

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