Flint Settlement, Federal Judge Approves $97M For New Water Lines

By Nethani Palmani | Mar 31, 2017 05:30 PM EDT

A federal judge approves a $97 million settlement in Flint's contaminated water crisis. The major multi-million-dollar new deal will replace pipes and distribute free bottled water to the residents of Flint.

The Flint settlement was approved on Tuesday afternoon, affirming 18,000 lead and galvanized water lines will be replaced at a cost reaching up to $97 million, according to The Detroit News. However, before it could get there, almost two dozen lawyers and clients over 600 hours were needed to reach the settlement.

"It gets the lead pipes out of the ground, it assures tap water testing, and insures residents have filters to remove lead," senior attorney Natural Resources Defense Council Dimple Chaudhary said. The Flint settlement also requires everything to be completed within the span of three years, according to IndaLaw.

The state has also promised bottled water distribution through September this year, and fund for seven existing health programs for those affected by lead exposure. Through the Flint settlement, residents will also be educated by door-to-door visits in December 2018.

However, the Flint settlement does not end all litigation with the city. There is still an ongoing class action lawsuit over the pain and suffering for residents in Flint.  

"Whatever a jury determines the value of these injuries to be, is what it is worth," said Julie Hurwitz, attorney for a class action lawsuit for personal injuries. Despite the lawsuit, the Flint settlement on Tuesday is perceived as a good first step.

Pastor Allen Overton from Concerned Pastors for Social Action praised the Flint settlement and expressed that the $97 million is enough to take the lead service lines out. He affirmed that the state can't go back on its word now that there is a federal lawsuit settlement, leaving the state with no option but to make sure "they do what they say they are going to do" in the Flint settlement.

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