Judge approves plan on fix for 18000 Flint water lines

by Marta Holmes March 31, 2017, 1:49
Judge approves plan on fix for 18000 Flint water lines

The city of Flint, Michigan, has a plan to replace around 18,000 underground water pipes thanks to an agreement with the state. Over the next three years, officials must examine water lines for all 18,000 households, and replace lines made of lead and galvanized steel.

In February, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that the state would stop paying water bill credits to Flint residences by March 1 because lead levels had dropped below federal maximum threshold.

While the drinking water in Flint was officially in compliance with federal regulations as of January, Mayor Karen Weaver told residents that the water supply won't be totally safe until the town's aging network of contaminated lead pipes are completely replaced.

The group sued Flint and MI on behalf of residents, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of MI.

Flint's water was tainted with lead for at least 18 months, as the city tapped the Flint River but didn't treat the water to reduce corrosion.

The next year, researchers and medical personnel discovered high levels of lead in residents, especially children. "For the first time, there will be an enforceable commitment to get the lead pipes out of the ground", said Dimple Chaudhary, the plaintiffs' lead attorney.

"We are thrilled that, after almost three years of grappling with lead-poisoned water, the residents of Flint can finally look forward to a long-term solution to a catastrophe that has devastated the community", said Michael J. Steinberg, Legal Director of the ACLU of MI. "The people of Flint are owed at least this much".

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An agreement has been reached in a civil lawsuit involving the Flint Water Crisis.

Pastor Allen Overton of Concerned Pastors for Social Action, one of the local plaintiffs in the case, said government officials "ignored" environmental laws meant to protect the public, so Flint residents sued state and local officials under these same laws.

The city switched back to the Lake Huron water supply in October 2015.

"We hope that our fight and our battle is a great example for other cities and states that are facing these same problems", Mays said.

The agreement also requires the state to maintain a door-to-door water filtration installation and education program and provide bottled water for residents.

Flint will also continue to operate at least nine Community Water Resources Sites around the city, where they distribute bottled water as well as filters, filter cartridges and water testing kits to residents free of charge.

"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.

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