Michigan, Flint to replace 18000 lead-tainted water lines

Mar 29, 2017, 01:46

A court filing Monday says Flint will replace at least 18,000 lead or galvanized-steel water lines by 2020, and the state will pick up the bill with state and federal money.

Officials in Flint, Michigan have agreed to replace about 18,000 lead-tainted pipes in the city by the year 2020. In addition, $10 million in federal funds will be put aside in case replacements cost more than expected.

According to MLive, the settlement agreement was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Monday, and comes close to bringing the legal battle Flint pastors, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Natural Resources Defense Council have waged against the city of Flint and the state of MI to an end.

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. MI officials won't be required to operate any water distribution centers after September 1 if water monitoring for the six-month period ending June 30 is below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's action level for lead.

"This agreement is good for the people of Flint", Mayor Karen Weaver said.

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"For the first time, there will be an enforceable commitment to get the lead pipes out of the ground".

Crews have been replacing pipes for months in Flint, where residents still feel betrayed by a series of devastating decisions that caused the crisis. There's no word on when actual construction efforts will begin to replace the pipes. MI will continue to provide water filters, but the state can start closing free bottled water sites in Flint depending on demand and results of water quality tests. However, the agreement codifies the State's commitment to put things right.

The city switched its water supply in 2014 without ensuring that water from the Flint River had been treated with anti-corrosive agents, as required by law. In November, Lawson ordered the state to deliver bottled water to residents who have trouble with filters, although the state said that remedy would be extremely hard to meet. Even now, many residents do not trust what flows from their taps, even as experts have reported that the water quality continues to get better.

"They keep telling me the water is safe to use (with filters) ... but to me, if you still have to use filters, then the water isn't safe", she said.

The state will pay $895,000 in legal fees and expenses to lawyers representing residents.

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