More Flint residents on the city's water shutoff list

Mar 31, 2017, 01:48
More Flint residents on the city's water shutoff list

Over the next three years, officials must examine water lines for all 18,000 households, and replace lines made of lead and galvanized steel.

The state will cover the cost of replacing water lines - the pipes that connect household plumbing to the main distribution pipe running beneath the street - for at least 18,000 Flint households by 2020, according to the settlement, which resulted from a lawsuit over lead-tainted water in the city. "This agreement assures us that the city will receive the additional funds needed, over and above the $100 million from the federal government, to get the job done", Weaver said. In addition, $10 million in federal funds will be put aside in case replacements cost more than expected. Pipes leading to almost 800 homes have been replaced so far.

-The agreement calls for replacement of 6,000 lines by January 1, 2018, and at least 6,000 more lines each of the two following years, with all lines covered by the agreement replaced by January 1, 2020.

Marc Edwards, an expert at Virginia Tech who in 2015 warned about risky lead levels after Gov. Rick Snyder's administration repeatedly dismissed the concerns, said the agreement is a good deal for residents.

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The group sued Flint and MI on behalf of residents, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of MI. U.S. District Judge David Lawson approved the settlement Tuesday.

The city is going after residential customers that haven't paid their water or sewer bills in more than a year, and have racked up past due accounts in the thousands of dollars.

Corrosive water caused lead to leach from from joints, pipes and fixtures, causing a spike in toxic lead levels in the blood of Flint children and other residents.

Not all of the money will come out of the state's coffers, however.

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-The state will continue elevated blood level case management services, for children with elevated blood levels, plus other services for children and nutrition services, through September 2018. For the first time, there will be an enforceable commitment to get the lead pipes out of the ground.

The water crisis in Flint began back in 2014.

Lead is not just a problem in Flint, and the crisis in the working-class, majority-Black city brought national attention to lead contamination in other cities across the country, fueling the movement for environmental justice.

-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. "The water issue must be resolved before we can make Flint thrive again, and I believe this resolution offers a path to a healthier, less traumatic future for everyone in Flint", said Pastor Allen Overton, of the Concerned Pastors for Social Action.

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"We took the matter into our own hands", Overton said.

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