Settlement guarantees Flint service line replacements, not water deliveries

The U.S. state of MI has agreed to replace thousands of home water lines in the city of Flint to settle a lawsuit over a lead-contamination crisis in the city's water supply. Lead leached from the old water lines when the city switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in 2014, exposing residents of the city of about 100,000 to dangerously high levels of lead. Stay on Patch and refresh your browser for the latest.

Under a settlement agreement filed in federal court Monday, the city will conduct the sweeping infrastructure project using state and federal funds.

The city of Flint has agreed to a timeline stipulating they will have replaced pipe lines in a minimum of 6,000 households by 2018, 12,000 by the next year and finally all 18,000 households by 2020, according to the settlement.

In addition, the proposed settlement requires state officials to pay $895,000 to plaintiffs who brought the 2016 lawsuit to cover their litigation costs. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $100 million to the city for its water infrastructure improvements after Congress approved the funding previous year.

Gov. Rick Snyder first asked for mediation in the case late previous year after Lawson issued an injunction, requiring the home delivery of bottled water to homes unless officials could prove there was an operating, properly-installed water filter in the house. The closings can occur if the 90 percentile lead level of tap water remains under the federal action limit of 15 parts per billion and if the average number of daily bottled water pickups falls below certain levels.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson will have a hearing at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday to consider the agreement, which was the result of mediation. Any amount of lead exposure is a health risk, particularly for young children, and can stunt their brain development. The state and city would continue to operate at least nine community water resource sites where residents can pick up bottled water, water filters and cartridges until May 1.

  • Leroy Wright