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

Flint has promised to replace thousands of lead and galvanized steel lines by 2020, leaving the state to foot the bill, according to the agreement filed in federal court.

MI and the city of Flint agreed Monday to replace thousands of home water lines under a sweeping deal to settle a lawsuit by residents over lead-contaminated water in the struggling city.

"This settlement continues the state's commitment to providing the resources necessary for the residents of Flint to recover from the crisis, including health care services, nutritional food and replacement of lead service lines throughout the city", Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in a news release.

Under the settlement, they will get a schedule for water line replacements while the state gets a schedule for weaning Flint off the community resource stations where bottled water, water filters and filter replacement cartridges are now distributed free of charge.

Pipes serving 18,000 homes will be replaced by January 2020.

Flint resident and activist Melissa Mays, a mother who was a key player in the lawsuit and has been at the forefront of Flint's water crisis, said the settlement was a testament to the strength of the people of Flint.

The settlement marks the end of a lawsuit filed a year ago by Concerned Pastors for Social Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Civil Liberties Union and a resident of Flint, targeted at both city and state officials.

US District Judge David Lawson will review the proposed settlement during a hearing in Detroit on Tuesday. They also will not receive door-to-door bottled water delivery to the extent they requested.

"We are thrilled that, after almost three years of grappling with lead-poisoned water, the residents of Flint can finally look forward to a long-term solution to a catastrophe that has devastated the community", said Michael J. Steinberg, Legal Director of the ACLU of MI.

Allen Overton of Concerned Pastors for Social Action told NPR, "Does this settlement agreement solve every problem Flint faces as a result of the water crisis?" "The Flint Water Crisis has its roots in the state's toxic emergency manager law and is a tragic example of what happens when state government displaces democracy to save a few bucks".

"It provides a comprehensive framework to address lead contamination in Flint's tap water".

MI will also continue to provide funding for seven medical programs that were set up to monitor and treat effects from lead exposure. As a result, lead leached from old pipes and fixtures. "I just don't know why we had to go this route to get that money".

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

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