MI will allocate $87 million for the city of Flint to identify and replace at least 18,000 unsafe water lines by 2020 under a proposed settlement of a federal lawsuit that also provides the state with a road map to end free distribution of bottled water. The agreement sets a 2020 deadline to replace lead or galvanized-steel lines serving Flint homes.
MI 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. 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 settlement is the result of a lawsuit filed a year ago by Concerned Pastors for Social Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the American Civil Liberties Union and a Flint resident against state and city officials. The city, under the control of state-appointed financial managers, tapped the Flint River while a new pipeline was being built to Lake Huron, but the water wasn't treated to reduce corrosion. 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 is a win for the people of Flint", plaintiff and Flint resident Melissa Mays said in a statement.
The agreement also maintains a door-to-door water filter installation and education program, to extensively monitor Flint's tap water for lead, and to continue to make bottled water available to Flint residents. Instead, if the deal is approved, Flint residents will be able to call the city's 211 number and order free water for delivery within 24 hours. He tells Here & Now's Robin Young what it will take to replace the pipes.
"The pipes are corroded inside", said Ron Blackmer, 55, who watched holes being drilled outside his home. However, the agreement codifies the State's commitment to put things right.
The settlement "continues the state's commitment", to providing recovery resources to the residents of Flint, Republican Governor Rick Snyder said in a statement.
The city has since returned to using Detroit as a water source; and over a year ago, The National Guard started giving out water bottles and filters free of charge. There will be no cost for replacement cartridges or household testing kits.
Flint's water was tainted with lead for at least 18 months, starting in spring 2014.
The state will pay $895,000 in legal fees and expenses to lawyers representing residents.