A Michigan judge on Wednesday signed off on a huge $626 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed by Flint residents over the city’s lead-tainted water supply.
The bulk of the money will come from the Wolverine State, which was accused of looking the other way amid widespread reports of contamination in the city’s drinking water.
“The settlement reached here is a remarkable achievement for many reasons, not the least of which is that it sets forth a comprehensive compensation program and timeline that is consistent with every qualifying participant,” US District Judge Judith Levy said in a statement.
The money will be dispersed between Flint children exposed to the contaminated water, adults who were harmed by it, and some businesses and customers who were billed for the substandard water.
The controversy stems from a 2014 decision by state officials to switch the city’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in a cost-cutting move.
But regulators opted not to treat the water to cut down on corrosion, allowing lead deposits in the old pipes to contaminate the water that flowed into city homes.
The decision sickened residents and led to an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.
In all, some 100,000 Flint water customers were sickened, prompting several lawsuits and neglect charges against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
The settlement was initially announced in August 2020 by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state Attorney General Dana Nessel but was not official until Levy’s final approval.
With Post wires