Michigan, Flint to replace 18000 lead-tainted water lines

The Black Student Union at Youngstown State University is collecting water and donations at Kilcawley Center all week

The state of MI will set aside $97 million for lead or galvanized steel water lines to be replaced in the city of Flint, according to a settlement filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

March 28, 2017, Judge Lawson will consider approving a settlement agreement to resolve the case.

The state is agreeing to pay at least $87 million to pay for at least 18,000 new water service lines in Flint.

Most of the money comes from the state, while $30 million will come from the federal government.

"This is the first little battle won in this huge overall war", plaintiff and Flint resident Melissa Mays told All Things Considered.

In all, almost 100,000 people were affected by the contaminated water and US federal health officials found that young children in Flint had significantly higher levels of risky lead in their blood.

Problems started in Flint in 2014 when they switched to the Flint River as a water source, in an effort to cut costs.

The Detroit Free Press reports that, "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". 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. Many still don't trust water coming from the tap and prefer to drink bottled water. 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. "Instead, the state's now promising to go door to door, to make sure everybody's got a filter and knows how to work it".

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. By the beginning of 2016, President Obama had declared the situation in Flint a state of emergency and approved FEMA's intervention, as well as the EPA's, according to NPR.

-Flint, Michigan's water crisis may finally be reaching resolution, with a new settlement that would require the city to replace 18,000 underground pipes by the year 2020.

The centers could close as early as September 1, subject to test results on Flint tap water.

In September 2015, studies confirmed what residents had feared: that the water contained unsafe levels of lead.