Judge Okays $97 Million Settlement to Replace Flint's Water Lines

A settlement gives Flint at least $87 million to replace pipes to 18,000 homes by 2019
A settlement gives Flint at least $87 million to replace pipes to 18,000 homes by 2019
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31 March, 2017

A federal judge has approved a deal to replace water lines at 18,000 homes in Flint, marking a long-term fix to overcome the disastrous discovery of high lead levels in the city's water system.

In February, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that the state would stop paying water bill credits to Flint residences by March 1 because lead levels had dropped below federal maximum threshold.

Under the settlement, they will get a schedule for water line replacements while the state gets a schedule for weaning Flint off the community resource stations where bottled water, water filters and filter replacement cartridges are now distributed free of charge.

Plaintiffs in the case Concerned Pastors for Social Action v. Khouri are Concerned Pastors for Social Action, Flint resident Melissa Mays, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the ACLU of MI.

Flint's water was tainted with lead for at least 18 months, as the city tapped the Flint River but didn't treat the water to reduce corrosion.

The State to guarantee funding for seven existing health and medical programs created to mitigate the effects of lead exposure for Flint residents. "For the first time, there will be an enforceable commitment to get the lead pipes out of the ground", said Dimple Chaudhary, the plaintiffs' lead attorney.

Edwards told The Associated Press that with improved water quality, temporary use of filters and new pipes, "Flint residents really have nothing to worry about other than the lost trust and history of this disaster, which may take a generation to fix".

The settlement, accepted by a federal judge, resolves just one of the civil lawsuits filed against state and city officials.

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But what about all the other cities and towns with aging lead pipes?

The new water shut-off notices follow others issued earlier this month in Flint, including two apartment complexes and 18 single family homes.

"In my view the settlement agreement is fair, adequate, reasonable and consistent with the public interest, and it furthers the objectives of the Safe Drinking Water Act", Lawson said from the bench, per The Detroit Free Press.

With that decision, the lawsuit, Concerned Pastors for Social Action et al v. Khouri et al, is dismissed.

Jones reportedly has a history of vocalizing concerns about chemicals being added to the city's water supply. The state of MI will continue to provide water filters.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has praised the agreement.

"We hope that our fight and our battle is a great example for other cities and states that are facing these same problems", Mays said. "I don't know", she says.


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