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Michigan to Settle Flint Water Lawsuit for $100 Million
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Summary: The state of Michigan has proposed spending almost $100 million to replace the water pipes in Flint.

Almost two weeks after a city visit by President Donald Trump, the state of Michigan has agreed to fork over some major money in order to fix the water crisis in Flint. According to a settlement filed Monday, Michigan will pay almost $100 million to replace 18,000 lead or galvanized steel water lines, the pipes that connect household plumbing to the main pipe underneath the street.


The settlement, filed in U.S. District Court, stems from a lawsuit addressing the poisoned water that was the result of the city switching its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River in April 2014. Flint’s leaders changed the source as part of a cost-cutting measure. And unlike Detroit’s water system, Flint did not use chemicals to fight lead and iron contamination.

After the switch, Flint’s water supply was contaminated by lead, causing the water to take on a murky brown color. Almost 100,000 residents were exposed to the bad water, including 30,000 school children.

In January 2015, Flint residents expressed concern about their tap water and showed up at community meetings with bottles of the brown liquid. In 2016, the city was under a declaration of emergency from the state. A study conducted by Virginia Tech University found that a fifth of Flint’s water samples exceeded the EPA lead limits.

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The city has since returned to using Detroit as a water source. Over a year ago, The National Guard started giving out water bottles and filters free of charge. A dozen criminal lawsuits were filed and multiple state and local officials resigned or were reprimanded.

The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU of Michigan, Concerned Pastors for Social Action, and the Natural Resource Defense Council.  The plaintiffs will receive $1 million as part of the settlement. The defendants in the lawsuit were representatives of Flint and Michigan.

Michigan will set aside $87 million of state and federal money for the pipe replacements, and an additional $10 million of federal funds will be available in reserves. Of the $87 million, $47 million of that must come from financial sources other than federal water infrastructure improvement funds from the Obama-era, according to KTLA.

The proposed settlement includes a timeline. A minimum of 6,000 households must have their pipes replaced by 2018; 12,000 must be changed by 2019, and all 18,000 households must have new pipes by 2020.

The state will also hire an independent third party to test and monitor the water using a sampling of at least 100 homes for three years.

In the meantime, Flint’s nine Community Water Resources Sites will still be open to distribute bottled water and free filters, filter cartridges, and water testing kits. They will operate as long as there is a need, but the sites will be phased out as demand drops.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson will review the settlement proposal during a hearing in Detroit.

The parties in the settlement were unable to comment as they were placed under a gag order by Judge Lawson, according to NBC News.

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

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