31 March, 2017
The state will pay $87 million to Flint, which will replace the city's water pipes. The state will keep another $10 million in reserve for costs that exceed expectations. State officials have agreed to replace the city's lead water pipes by 2020.
Dimple Chaudhary, a senior attorney with NRDC, said the settlement is a major step forward for residents, after almost two years of legal effort to get the city to resolve its water crisis.
The agreement also requires the State to maintain 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.
"By law, the city of Flint is required to collect payment from customers receiving water and sewer services", David Sabuda, the city's interim Chief Financial Officer, said in a statement.
"This groundbreaking settlement marks a huge step toward restoring a long-neglected community to some semblance of normalcy", he added.
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The crisis in Flint began in 2014, when state and local officials switched the city's drinking water supply as a cost-cutting measure.
Door-to-door water bottle delivery was left out of the lengthy agreement, which is what the Concerned Pastors were originally after. The cost could be as high as $97 million with federal and state governments roughly splitting the bill. The nonprofit, which aims to protect public health and the environment, has worked with the ACLU of MI to represent Flint residents in the lawsuit.
"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 and a member of the council representing plaintiffs on the case.
The city has identified the customers as account holders who owe between $2,000 to $5,600 and who have not made any payment on their bills in at least 15 months, they said. "It provides a comprehensive framework to address lead in Flint tap water and covers a number of critical issues related to water safety". Former President Barack Obama signed off on the bipartisan funding bill shortly before leaving office past year. The state of MI will continue to provide water filters.
-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.