DETROIT (AP/WXMI) — A judge in Michigan has approved a $626 million settlement for Flint residents and others who were exposed to lead-contaminated water.
The state is providing $600 million of the settlement.
The state was accused of repeatedly overlooking the devastating risks of switching Flint’s water source in 2014 without treating the water to prevent contamination.
Flint managers appointed by then-Gov. Rick Snyder allowed the city to use the Flint River without treating the water to reduce corrosion. As a result, lead in old pipes broke off and flowed through taps.
Flint switched back to a Detroit regional water agency in fall 2015.
“For those who have endured the damage done by the Flint water crisis, I know this day brings only partial relief to what remains unimaginable hardship, but I hope this important settlement can be acknowledged as a positive step in the healing process,” says Attorney General Dana Nessel. “The people of Flint deserve accountability and to be compensated for any injuries they suffered.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also released a statement to commemorate the settlement, saying in part that it is the beginning to cultivating a brighter future for Flint's residents.
Governor Whitmer's full statement reads:
“The court’s final approval of the settlement is an important step forward in the process of helping Flint heal and making amends to the families and individuals who have faced so much uncertainty. What happened in Flint should never have happened, and no amount of money can completely compensate people for what they have endured.
“We hope this settlement helps the healing continue as we keep working to make sure that people have access to clean water in Flint and communities all across Michigan. While this chapter may have concluded, we hear and respect those voices who remind us that healing Flint will take a long time. Our long-term commitment to the people of Flint is undiminished, and we will keep working to help build the bright future that the people of Flint deserve.”