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31 March 2017, 01:52 | Amanda Barker
The state will pay to replace 18,000 lead service lines in Flint as part of a lawsuit settlement reached this week.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio
Under the plan, the result of a settlement from a lawsuit brought against Flint and MI government officials in January 2016, residents can also receive ongoing stream water filters (and replacement cartridges for those filters), and can demand lead testing at least four times annually.
MI and the city of Flint filed a proposed settlement in U.S. District Court yesterday (March 27) to require the state to pay for the city's replacement of about 18,000 water service pipes by 2020.
MI will provide $87 million in a combination of state and federal money, according to the settlement; $47 million of that must come from sources other than Obama-era federal water infrastructure improvement funds.
"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. Pipes at more than 700 homes have been replaced so far.
-The agreement calls for replacement of 6,000 lines by January 1, 2018, and at least 6,000 more lines each of the two following years, with all lines covered by the agreement replaced by January 1, 2020.
U.S. District Judge David Lawson approved the $97 million settlement MI and the city of Flint proposed. The new water supply did not receive adequate anti-corrosion treatments, causing lead pipes to leach the risky metal directly into the city's drinking water.
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Finally, after three years of waiting for SOMETHING substantial to happen, Flint is receiving financial assistance from the MI state government.
-The agreement does not call for door-to-door bottled water delivery, which the plaintiffs had sought, but calls for residents to be able to call the 211 city phone number and receive free water deliveries within 24 hours.
The settlement requires the state to continue to operate nine bottled water and filter distribution centers through September 1, with clearly designated procedures for closing any of them.
"Concerned Pastors brought this lawsuit to heal the damage to the community from both the lead in our water and government indifference, and to take a stand for what is right for the people of Flint". "We need to show the state that our residents are paying for services the city is providing".
"The water issue must be resolved before we can make Flint thrive again, and I believe this resolution offers a path to a healthier, less traumatic future for everyone in Flint", said the Rev. Allen Overton.
The state must also expand a program created to help residents install tap filters in their homes, fund water monitoring programs and guarantee funding for seven existing medical programs created to treat residents for health problems associated with lead exposure.
And while Overton did lash out at the state for its past actions, saying "they told us our water was safe when they knew it wasn't", he said it's time for the bitterness to end.
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