MI to spend $87M to fix Flint water pipes

According to a settlement filed Monday, Michigan will pay nearly $100 million to replace 18,000 lead or galvanized steel water lines, the pipes that connect household plumbing to the main pipe underneath the street.

For decades, Flint paid Detroit to have its water piped in from Lake Huron, with anti-corrosion chemicals added along the way.

The Michigan government must come up with an additional $47 million, the settlement says.

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

"Flint residents, who are majority Black or African-American and among the most impoverished of any metropolitan area in the United States, did not enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards as that provided to other communities", the report said without explicitly mentioning the word "racism". While we are very appreciative of the funds appropriated by Congress we knew it still wasn't enough to replace all of the lead-tainted service lines in Flint, a process that is already underway through my FAST Start program. He tells Here & Now's Robin Young what it will take to replace the pipes.

-The agreement requires the state and city to continue to operate at least nine community water resource sites, where residents can pick up bottled water, water filters and cartridges, until May 1.

Aside from the settlement, the city is working on plans to build a new water treatment plant by 2019. It includes much of what a coalition of civil rights activists, religious leaders, and the National Resources Defense Council initially sought and would force Flint and MI to commit to long-term plans for rectifying the lead crisis. "This is history making", said activist Melissa Mays.

Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of MI, said he was pleased that "Flint can finally look forward to a long-term solution to a catastrophe that has devastated the community".

Mays told CNN a year ago that her family was relying on bottled water rather than water filters, in part because of guidance she's received that the filters aren't sufficient for people with certain health challenges. Even with this data in hand, the city of Flint continued to deny there was any cause for concern, according to Michigan Radio.

A civil lawsuit that was originally requesting door-to-door delivery of bottled water to residents of Flint, Mich., was settled with a guarantee to replace 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines in the city. 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. Lead has been tied to a host of medical problems, especially in the nervous system. It was only later when the crisis began to spiral that the city began testing the water, only to find it contained E. coli and high levels of total trihalomethanes. The politicians' decision to switch water sources to save $5 million resulted in a loss of over $1.5 billion, according to estimates. In January 2016, the governor declared a state of emergency, one month after the city's mayor did.

  • Zachary Reyes