Judge considering plan on fix for 18000 Flint water lines

Apr 11, 2017, 00:25
Judge considering plan on fix for 18000 Flint water lines

U.S. District Judge David Lawson is to hold a hearing Tuesday to consider the agreement, which was the result of mediation.

MI and the city of Flint have agreed to replace thousands of home water lines under a sweeping deal to settle a lawsuit over lead-contaminated water in the troubled city.

The state has also agreed to set aside an additional US$10 million for unexpected extra expenses. There's no word on when actual construction efforts will begin to replace the pipes. Flint has been without clean water since 2014, when the city switched its water source from Detroit River to Flint River. The city failed to properly treat the more contaminated water under the direction of the state Department of Environmental Quality, and the water corroded city pipes, leaching lead into the water.

The state will also monitor the water quality of a sampling of homes after the replacement, and hire an independent third party to test and monitor a sampling of at least 100 homes for at least three years. "When I see someone on TV just turn on the water and wash their hands - I haven't been able to do that for years", Renata Richard told AP. But the plaintiffs get a schedule for water line replacements while the state gets a schedule for weaning the city of Flint off the community resource stations where bottled water, water filters and filter replacement cartridges are now distributed free of charge. Many officials initially denied that there was a problem, and the mayor even drank a glass of tap water on TV to prove that it was safe. "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".

"While this does not fix everything, it's a good start", Mays said, stressing the immediate priority will be to get the lead pipes out of the ground. There, if Judge David Lawson approves the deal, the municipality of Flint and MI state government would both be obligated to inspect and replace water lines leading to at least 18,000 homes by January 1, 2020. Depending on water quality, all nine may be closed by September 1.

Conditions under which the state is permitted to close up to three bottled water distribution sites after May 1.

The Court will retain authority to enforce the agreement and to ensure that the State and City meet their deadlines and fulfil their obligations.

Pastor Alfred Harris Sr., a member of the Concerned Pastors for Social Action in Flint who was in the courtroom, praised the agreement. "Does this agreement leave the community better off than it was before?"

Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of MI, said he was pleased that "Flint can finally look forward to a long-term solution to a catastrophe that has devastated the community".

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