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Agreement reached in civil lawsuit involving Flint Water Crisis

Agreement reached in civil lawsuit involving Flint Water Crisis”

Under the deal approved Tuesday, Flint will be responsible for replacing lead and galvanized-steel lines that bring water into homes.

In 2015, 18 million people in the United States got their water from systems that received federal lead violations that year, according to the NRDC. As part of the court deal, the state agreed to put aside another $10 million in case of unforeseen expenses.

Marc Edwards, an expert at Virginia Tech who in 2015 warned about unsafe lead levels after Gov. Rick Snyder's administration repeatedly dismissed the concerns, said the agreement is a good deal for residents.

Concerned Pastors for Social Justice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Michigan ACLU and Flint resident Melissa Mays subsequently all had their cases dismissed because of the ruling.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson approved the $97 million settlement MI and the city of Flint proposed. The state will make its best efforts to have at least 90 filter education specialists at work throughout the city, eight hours per day, Monday through Saturday, with specialists also available on Sundays by appointment and for follow-up. 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.

Flint is getting the money it wants to replace pipes that contributed to its water crisis, but it's not enough to persuade Vicky Jones to stay in the eastern MI city. The Department of Environmental Quality failed to treat the corrosive water, which ate into the city's iron and lead pipes, causing lead to leach into the drinking water. Most residents won't continue to receive door-to-door bottled water deliveries, an earlier requirement that state officials resisted in court, but the state must deliver bottled water to residents who call a social services helpline until July 1.

MI will also continue to provide funding for seven medical programs that were set up to monitor and treat effects from lead exposure. "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.

Allen Overton, who spoke on behalf of a coalition of pastors involved in the lawsuit, praised the settlement for finally getting Flint the legal boost it needed to get clean water back.

Jones, who like many Flint residents has used free, city-supplied bottled water and tap filters for months, tires of waiting for water quality to improve.

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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