'Hard-fought victory': Flint seals deal to replace 18000 home water lines

Posted March 31, 2017

The deal requires MI to give Flint $87 million in state and federal funds so the city can replace lead and other problem water pipes that connect homes to the city's main water line.

The city has identified the customers as account holders who owe between $2,000 to $5,600 and who have not made any payment on their bills in at least 15 months, they said. The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which was passed by Congress past year, will provide up to $20 million in funds, with the state matching another $20 million.

The settlement also requires the city maintain at least two centers where residents can pick up free bottled water and tap water filters through September, and longer if city water testing still shows too much contamination.

The water lines for 18,000 households will be examined for possible replacement.

In February, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that the state would stop paying water bill credits to Flint residences by March 1 because lead levels had dropped below federal maximum threshold.

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The state will also monitor the water quality of a sampling of homes after the replacement, and hire an independent third party to test and monitor a sampling of at least 100 homes for at least three years.

The news comes about a week after the city said it would begin shutting off water service to customers behind on their bills.

"While we haven't gotten everything all at one time, the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place and we're making things happen for Flint".

The Natural Resources Defense Council and American Civil Liberties Union of MI sued the city and the state in 2016, on behalf of Flint's roughly 100,000 residents.

In 2014, to save money, the state switched Flint's water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River, a tributary notorious for its filth.

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Edwards 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".

It also mandates expanded Medicaid services to cover such programs as monitoring the blood of local children for elevated lead levels. "I believe it is in the best interest of the citizens of Flint and the citizens of the state of MI".

"We hope that our fight and our battle is a great example for other cities and states that are facing these same problems", Mays said.

The city says it's warning 31 more residential customers to pay their water bills or prepare to lose service as early as April 10. "I don't know", she says.

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