Federal judge approves $97M for new Flint water lines, bottled water

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A new deal for Flint as a federal judge approved a $97 million settlement in the city's contaminated water crisis, going to replace pipes and free bottled water to residents.

It was a major multi-million dollar settlement for the residents of Flint.

"This is a first, this is history making," said Melissa Mays, activist and lead plaintiff in lawsuit.

A federal judge Tuesday afternoon approved a settlement whereby flints 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 insures residents have filters to 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 settlement, the state can't go back on its word," said Pastor Allen Overton, Concerned Pastors for Social Action. "Now we have something in place to make sure they do what day they say they are  going to do."

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.

And all that, is in addition to the $97 million.  

FOX 2: "Do you think the $97 million enough for the people of Flint?"

"Right now we think the $97 million is enough to take the lead service lines out," said Overton. "If it's not, we will be back in court for more."

The settlement today 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.

"Whatever a jury determines to be the value of these injuries, is what it is worth," said Julie Hurwitz, attorney for a class action lawsuit for personal injuries.

FOX 2: "It could be worth more than $97 million."

"Very likely," Hurwitz said.

Most perceive the settlement today as a good first step. Federal Judge David Lawson singled out Gov. Rick Snyder for his willingness to settle.

FOX 2: "Did Gov. Snyder make amends to the city of Flint?"

"No," Mays said. "Until everything is fixed, until our water is safe from all dangerous  contaminants not just meeting federal regulations, but 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."