Flint residents exposed to toxic levels of lead in water crisis to get $600m from state

Nii Ntreh August 21, 2020
The Flint Water Crisis has been cited as one of the biggest examples of economic injustice in modern America in the last few decades. Photo Credit: AP

The state of Michigan will have to pay $600 million in compensation to residents of Flint who have been affected by the ongoing water crisis which started in 2014.

Michigan agreed that it failed to adequately protect Flint residents when the city’s water source was changed from water treated by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River over half a decade ago.

According to state Attorney General Dana Nessel, the deal that was reached “puts the needs of Flint’s children first”. About 80% of the amount will be expended to resolve claims made on behalf of children and minors.

AG Nessel was quoted as saying: “All individuals who were minors in Flint at the time they were first exposed to Flint water during the Exposure Period will be eligible to recover compensation without proof of personal injury, with larger amounts of compensation to those who can show personal injuries, blood or bone lead levels, or who lived in homes with lead service lines.”

There is also within the settlement, compensation for those who were resident in the city between April 25, 2014, when the water source change was effected and July 31, 2016, when experts confirmed that Flint residents were recording higher levels of lead in their blood due to the water available to them.

According to the agreement, those who lived in the city during that period “will be eligible to recover property-related compensation.” Those who are exempted from compensation are parties who have been sued in relation to the crisis.

But this settlement does not bring to an end the litigation filed on behalf of residents.

“The litigation will continue against other defendants, including two private engineering firms charged with professional negligence—Veolia North America (Veolia) and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam (LAN),” said Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, the legal firm that co-leads the class action suit on behalf of residents.

The Flint water crisis has been cited by many social science experts as one of the best examples of how racial and economic injustice is actualized. About 60% of residents are Black and almost one of two Flint residents are below the US poverty line.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 21, 2020


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