Flint Drinking Water Settlement FAQ

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

What does the settlement agreement do?

  • The agreement requires the City of Flint and the State of Michigan to replace Flint’s lead and galvanized steel service lines within three years, while, in the meantime, providing water filter support and education as well as extensive tap water testing. The agreement requires the state to provide $97 million to fund the replacement of the lead and galvanized steel water pipes.

What are the key terms of the agreement?

  • The state will provide $97 million to the City of Flint for replacement of lead and galvanized steel pipes at no cost to Flint residents.
  • The city will conduct the pipe replacements within three years.
  • The state will expand and publicize its program for filter installation and education, including by conducting door-to-door visits to residents’ homes through December 2018.
  • The state will fund a pair of tap water monitoring programs, beyond what is legally required under federal law, to test the water in hundreds of homes in Flint. All testing data will be made available to the public, including at NRDC.org/Flint.
  • The state was required to provide free bottled water at distribution centers through September 1, 2017, and delivery through the 2-1-1 helpline to homebound residents through July 1, 2017.
  • The state will guarantee funding for seven existing health and medical programs designed to mitigate the effects of lead exposure for Flint residents.

Who will get their service line replaced?

  • Any residential customer with an active water account as of March 28, 2017, is eligible to have his or her service line replaced if his or her service line is lead or galvanized steel. Residents’ water bills do not need to be paid up-to-date to be eligible for pipe replacement.

The agreement says the city will inspect and replace, if necessary, 18,000 lead or galvanized service lines. What if there are more than 18,000 lead and galvanized steel service lines found in Flint? 

  • Based on the excavations conducted by the city so far, 18,000 is a reasonable estimate of the number of pipes that need to be examined and, if necessary, replaced. The agreement requires the city to further evaluate the total number of pipes that may need to be replaced. If that evaluation reveals there are likely more pipes that need to be replaced and the current commitment of nearly $100 million is not enough, the state is required to seek additional funding. The city is required to replace as many lines as it can with the funding it has available under the agreement.

What if I don’t have a filter or am not sure if my filter is working?

  • Staff from the Community Outreach and Resident Education (CORE) program will be visiting every home in Flint once every six months during 2018. If a resident is not home when the CORE team stops by, they will leave a door hanger with information about how to make an appointment.
  • When a CORE team visits a home, the team will ask to inspect the resident’s filter to ensure it is properly installed and working as well as provide information about how to use and maintain filters.
  • Any resident can make an appointment with a CORE team by calling 810-238-6700.

Do the faucet filters the state is providing protect me from lead in my drinking water?

  • The faucet filters currently distributed by the state are certified by the National Sanitation Foundation to remove lead up to 150 ppb. If these filters are properly installed and maintained, they are effective at removing lead from water.
  • The agreement sets forth specific requirements for an extensive filter inspection and education program. This program will ensure that every home is visited by a filter team and has its filter checked to make sure it is working properly and fixed if it is not. For residents who are not home when the filter teams visit, filter inspection and education are available by appointment as well.

Is bottled water still available free of charge?

  • The state announced that it was closing its bottled water distribution centers in April 2018. Free filters and filter replacement cartridges remain available at Flint City Hall or by calling CORE at 810-234-6700. And free bottled water remains available at the following Help Centers: Bethel United Methodist Church, 1308 N. Ballenger Highway (open Mondays, 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.); Asbury United Methodist Church, 1653 Davison Road (open Tuesdays, 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.); and Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ, 6702 N. Dort Highway (open Thursdays, 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.).

Did the plaintiffs receive any money from the settlement?

  • The agreement required the State to pay $895,000 for attorneys’ fees and case costs in this case. The attorneys in this case work for NRDC and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU), both of which are non-profit organizations. While NRDC and ACLU bring cases on behalf of communities for free, when we are successful we seek to recover at least some of our costs so that we can continue to do this kind of work. The fee award in the settlement covers only a portion of our costs for this case, and we will use the money to fund our work to help other communities like Flint. Neither Concerned Pastors for Social Action nor Melissa Mays received money from the settlement.

Does the settlement require Flint to get its water from a specific source?

  • No. The agreement does not dictate where Flint gets its drinking water from, or on what terms. The agreement incorporates the EPA’s Emergency Administrative Order, which requires the city, state, and MDEQ to take certain steps before any water-source switch. But the agreement itself does not require Flint to switch to, or stay with, any water source.

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