DETROIT (AP) — Michigan and the city of Flint agreed Monday to replace thousands of home water lines under a sweeping deal to settle a lawsuit by residents over lead-contaminated water in the struggling city.
Flint will replace at least 18,000 lead or galvanized-steel water lines by 2020, and the state will pick up the bill with state and federal money, according to the settlement filed in federal court. It will be presented to a judge on Tuesday for his approval.
More than 700 water lines already have been replaced and work is ongoing, but the agreement would rid Flint’s roughly 100,000 residents of uncertainty over how to pay for the enormous task. Under the settlement, the state will set aside $87 million and keep another $10 million in reserve if necessary.
“The proposed agreement is a win for the people of Flint,” said Dimple Chaudhary, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan to represent Flint residents.
“It provides a comprehensive framework to address lead in Flint tap water and covers a number of critical issues related to water safety,” Chaudhary told The Associated Press.
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. As a result, lead leached from old pipes and fixtures.
Water quality has improved but residents still are advised to use filters if drawing water from the kitchen tap.