Federal judge approves settlement agreement requiring replacement of Flint's lead pipes

Andrew Cummings
April 8, 2017

"This settlement continues the state's commitment to providing the resources necessary for the residents of Flint to recover from the crisis, including health care services, nutritional food and replacement of lead service lines throughout the city", Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in a news release.

A judge will review the settlement agreement at a hearing in federal court Tuesday.

"Flint has actually been meeting all federal water safety standards for at least 6 months, and in similar situations, residents of other cities in the USA are routinely told that their water is "safe" to drink, even without filtration", Dr. Edwards tells The Christian Science Monitor via email.

Concerned Pastors for Social Justice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the MI chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Flint resident Melissa Mays won't get the door-to-door delivery of bottled water they had been seeking in recent months.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson approved the settlement, which was the result of weeks of negotiations involving a court-appointed mediator. This damaged the pipes and caused lead to leach into the city's water system.

Flint has been in the midst of a water crisis since 2014, when the city changed its water source from the Detroit River to the Flint River.

"This is a win for the people of Flint", Mays said in a statement.

Recent testing shows that the lead levels in the city's drinking water are below the threshold to comply with federal regulations, but residents are still advised not to drink tap water unless it is filtered, and many people are still relying on bottled water. The money will come from both state and federal funds.

The deal marked a major agreement to replace piping that played a significant role in the Flint water crisis that prompted dozens of lawsuits and criminal charges against former government officials.

As part of the agreement the state must also keep providing residents with free bottled water and conduct inspections to ensure that residents have proper filters installed on their taps-and provide such filters for free.

"A senior advisor to Governor Rick Snyder has sent Flint's Interim Chief Financial Officer, David Sabuda, a letter to inform him the credits now being applied to the water portion of Flint utility customers' accounts will no longer be provided after February 28, 2017", Flint spokeswoman Kristin Moore wrote in a press release on Feb. 9.

Corroded water pipes at a Flint, Michigan, facility.

Even if the project is completed by 2020, that still means there are years without clean water yet ahead for the residents of Flint.

The deal requires that $47 million of the $87 million not come from the same sources approved previous year by Congress and President Barack Obama for $40 million, Booth Michigan reported.

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