Flint, MI has gained national, negative recognition as the lead poisoned town with a contaminated water supply. A poor decision was made in 2014, to gather untreated river water as a source of the town’s potable water. This would serve as a temporary solution while a new pipeline to Lake Huron was constructed. The untreated river caused astronomically high levels of lead in Flint’s residents.
The lawsuit reached a settlement at the end of March, where the state will be held responsible for replacing water pipes in 18,000 Flint homes by the beginning of 2020. The cost to complete this project could reach $97 million, which will be paid for by the state and federal governments. So far, about 700 homes have been granted new pipes, but other families continue to wait.
Families with children are on the highest level of priority for pipe removal and service line repair. That excludes individuals who are high risk for increased health problems, who may not have children living in the home. Cancer survivor, Doris Allen, doubts her water lines will be replaced this year, as she “tried calling the city to see if [she was] on the list,” but no one returned her calls. Many residents fear the settlement is not enough compensation for the suffering they had to, and will have to endure.
The long-term effects, and potential injuries caused by the unsafe water were not considered in the settlement. The estimated $97 million cost of the settlement does not include the medical bills of residents who will ultimately suffer long term or will face health issues in the future. As an added element, the town plans to shut down any free bottled water distribution centers by the end of the summer, but promises to continue supplying the residents with water filters, free of charge.