News Feature | March 28, 2023

Judge Orders Michigan To Pay $600 Million To Victims Of Flint Water Contamination

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga


More than seven years since a public health emergency was declared following revelations of lead contamination in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, victims have been granted a historic legal victory.

“Michigan will pay $600 million to settle lawsuits over the contamination of Flint’s water supply, which combined with settlements from the city and a local hospital will comprise the largest legal settlement in the state’s history,” The Hill reported. “The settlement includes $600 million from the state, $20 million from the city, $5 million from McLaren Regional Medical Center and $1.5 million from Rowe Professional Services.”

Following a switch of drinking water sources in 2014, lead began leaching into Flint’s effluent, putting consumers at risk of numerous adverse health effects. In the aftermath, the city has been ordered to update its drinking water infrastructure and victims have sought to hold those who oversaw the water system at the time legally responsible.

Now, with final approval of this substantial compensation, Flint and the country at large are taking a step forward in recovering from the most high-profile drinking water contamination event in recent history. It has established a settlement fund and process by which defendants can submit claims for compensation from that fund.

“Claimants are eligible if they owned or lived in a residence or owned a business that received water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant,” per AccuWeather. “A person is also eligible if they ingested or came into contact with water received from the plant for at least 21 days during a 30-day period.”

Still, it’s clear there is much work to be done to truly deliver equitable public services, particularly drinking water, to all communities around the country.

“This historic settlement cannot undo the unimaginable hardship and heartbreaking health effects these families and children in Flint have endured,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said following the approval, according to CBS News. “This ruling provides families with much-needed compensation for the injuries they have suffered. I am proud of my team’s tireless work on behalf of the people of Flint.”

To read more about how water utilities around the country oversee their buried infrastructure, visit Water Online’s Asset Management Solutions Center.