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$87 million to be spent on replacing 18,000 lead tainted pipes in Michigan by 2020

The state of Michigan will pay $87 million (EUR 81 million) to fund the replacement of more than 18,000 lead tainted water lines in the city of Flint by 2020. The commitment comes following the settlement of a lawsuit filed by Flint residents and an environmental group in 2016.

The 92-page settlement has been presented to a judge for approval.

As part of the agreement, the state will provide free bottled water distribution centres and delivery services for residents of the city of Flint. Another $10 million will be set aside in case more pipes need to be replaced.

Flint’s water crisis started in 2014 following a change in the city’s water supply, when city officials swapped the source from the Detroit River to the Flint River. Soon after, lead began to contaminate the city’s water. The problem was worsened by an earlier corrosion problem with the pipes which hadn’t been solved.

“The proposed agreement is a win for the people of Flint,” Dimple Chaudhary, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which represents Flint citizens, told the Associated Press. “It provides a comprehensive framework to address lead in Flint tap water and covers a number of critical issues related to water safety.”

Earlier this year the water quality in Flint improved to federal standards, yet officials still warned against drinking it, designating it as unsafe because the pipes were still in need of replacement.

Flint is still appealing to the state and federal government for assistance and support so that all of the remaining 20,000 lead tainted pipes in the city can be replaced.