The state of MI will pay $87 million to replace water lines to thousands of homes in lead-contaminated Flint under a settlement agreement submitted Monday. "We still need help and support from the state and federal government so that all of the estimated 20,000 lead-tainted pipes remaining in the city will be replaced".
The state will put $87 million toward pipe replacement and keep an additional $10 million in reserve.
"It gets the lead pipes out of the ground, it assures tap water testing, and ensures residents have filters to effectively remove lead", said Dimple Chaudhary, senior attorney natural resources Defense Council.
He told The Associated Press that with improved water quality, temporary use of filters and new pipes, "Flint residents really have nothing to worry about other than the lost trust and history of this disaster, which may take a generation to fix". MI will continue to provide water filters, but the state can start closing free bottled water sites in Flint depending on demand and results of water quality tests.
"I don't feel safe, period, anymore", Jones, a Flint apartment resident, said by phone.
A judge will review the settlement agreement at a hearing in federal court Tuesday.
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Earlier this month, the EPA awarded $100 million for Flint to update its drinking water infrastructure. A minimum of 6,000 households must have their pipes replaced by 2018; 12,000 must be changed by 2019, and all 18,000 households must have new pipes by 2020. In November, Lawson ordered the state to deliver bottled water to residents who have trouble with filters, although the state said that remedy would be extremely hard to meet. That money is in addition to $40 million budgeted to address the lead-contamination crisis.
The National Guard began distributing bottled water and filters in Flint more than a year ago.
Flint switched back to the previous water system in October 2015.
The state of MI has agreed to spend up to $97 million for new water lines in the city of Flint, which has been struggling with a crisis over lead in its water for the past three years. The state will make its best efforts to have at least 90 filter education specialists at work throughout the city, eight hours per day, Monday through Saturday, with specialists also available on Sundays by appointment and for follow-up.
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.
Residents who get new water lines will be urged to continue using a filter for six months.