Flint, Michigan Is Going To Have 18,00 Lead-Tainted Pipes Replaced

A federal judge has approved a plan that would replace 18,000 lead-tainted water pipes in Flint where lead poisoned the water system.

The state of MI proposed $97 million deal Monday to combat the Flint Water health crisis, reports The Detroit News.

MI will set aside $87 million of state and federal money for the pipe replacements, and an additional $10 million of federal funds will be available in reserves. An independent monitor also will check household water samples for lead, and the results will be posted online.

The researchers from Virginia Tech said they found no detectable levels of lead in 57 percent of homes during the latest round of tests in the city. The state would expand its program of water filter education, installation and maintenance and make its best efforts to have at least 90 filter education specialists at work throughout the city, eight hours a day, Monday through Saturday with specialists also available Sundays by appointment and for follow-up. Locals quickly noticed that the water wasn't clean, but the city did not respond to their complaints, according to NPR. "This problem has not been solved". The cost could be as high as $97 million, with federal and state governments covering the bill.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and American Civil Liberties Union of MI sued Flint and MI on behalf of 100,000 residents. "It provides a comprehensive framework to address lead in Flint tap water and covers a number of critical issues related to water safety". It corroded the city's old water mains, turning drinking water brown due to iron contamination, and leached lead from smaller pipes that carried water into homes. Many still don't trust water coming from the tap and prefer to drink bottled water.

The city switched its water supply in 2014 without ensuring that water from the Flint River had been treated with anti-corrosive agents, as required by law. The Department of Environmental Quality has acknowledged a mistake in failing to require the use of corrosion control chemicals as part of the treatment process.

In February, officials said that since March, they had replaced service lines at just 780 homes.

Marc Edwards, an expert at Virginia Tech who in 2015 warned about risky lead levels after state regulators repeatedly dismissed the concerns, said the agreement is a good deal for Flint's roughly 100,000 residents. He says negligent officials involved in the crisis still need to be brought to justice.

Replacement of pipes will be completed by January 2020, the agreement states. The state must also guarantee the availability of water filters through 2018 and provide bottled water at least until September.

"This hard-fought victory means safer water for Flint". She has a BA in journalism from Stockholm University and is passionate about human rights, good books, horses, and European chocolate.

  • Larry Hoffman