FLINT, Mich. (WJBK) - It was a major multi million dollar settlement for the residents of Flint.
"This is a first. This is history making," said activist Melissa Mays.
A federal judge Tuesday afternoon approved a settlement whereby Flint's 18,000 lead and galvanized water lines will be replaced at a cost to the state of up to $97 million, and that's not all.
"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.
And everything must be completed within three years. But the settlement was not easy -- it took two dozen lawyers and clients over 600 hours to come to the settlement.
"Now that we have a federal lawsuit, a settlement, they can't go back on their word. Now we have something in place to make sure they do what they say they're going to do," said Pastor Allen Overton, who brought the lawsuit on behalf of Concerned Pastors for Social Action.
The state will also guarantee bottled water delivery through September this year, fund seven existing health and medical programs for those affected by lead exposure, and educate Flint residents by door-to-door visits through December 2018. All that is in addition to the $97 million.
The settlement does not end all litigation with Flint.
There is a class action lawsuit going for the pain and suffering for residents in Flint. That case is still going.
But the settlement Tuesday most perceive is a good first step. Federal Judge David Lawson singled out Governor Snyder for his willingness to settle.
Charlie Langton: "Did Governor Snyder make amends to the people of Flint? "
Mays: "No, until everything is fixed, until our water is completly safe from all dangerous contaminants, and not even just meet the federal regulations, but actually safe to drink without a filter, and we have medical care for the rest of our lives and people are made whole again, then we'll talk."