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Flint City Residents Poisoned By Drinking Water To Be Paid More Than $600 Million

by : Shola Lee on : 11 Nov 2021 17:37
Flint City Residents Poisoned By Drinking Water To Be Paid Over $600 MillionAlamy

A federal judge has approved a payment of $626.25 million to residents of Flint, Michigan, that were impacted by the city’s water crisis.

On Wednesday, November 10, United States District Judge Judith E. Levy approved one of the largest settlements in Michigan’s history to help those affected.

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Flint’s water crisis started in 2014, when Flint switched its water supply system away from the neighbouring Detroit system, which used the Lord Huron river as a water supply.  The new system was cheaper, taking water from the Flint river, and was supposed to save the city millions.

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However, problems arose when the water turned out to be more corrosive than that of the Lord Huron river. The water was not treated properly, which caused lead to leak from the pipes, flowing directly into the homes of local residence.

When exposed to the body, lead can cause serious behavioural and physical health issues.

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An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which is a pneumonia-like infection caused by the legionella bacteria that can be found in untreated water, followed the switch.

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Some experts argue the outbreak was caused by the Flint water system lacking enough chlorine to control the bacteria, which left 12 dead and more than 100,000 without safe drinking water.

Despite switching back to the Detroit system in October 2015, the harmful chemicals turned the water yellow and caused health issues across the community.

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Judge Levy sympathised with the struggle of Flint residents over the past few years and called the settlement a ‘remarkable achievement’.

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The official went on to say that the settlement ‘sets forth a comprehensive compensation programme and timeline that is consistent for every qualifying participants’.

However, former Flint mayor Karen Weaver called the settlement a ‘slap in the face’ to the victims who continue to suffer with the long-term financial and health effects of the crisis.

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Weaver went on to question Levy’s statement, saying:

What was that a remarkable achievement for? The attorneys that got a lot of money?

The former mayor pressed for accountability, insisting, ‘We haven’t gotten financial accountability, we haven’t gotten criminal accountability in this as well.’

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This is in reference to the lack of criminal convictions surrounding the crisis.

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So far, Liane Shekter-Smith was the only state employee fired over the crisis. Shekter-Smith was fired from her job at the request of former Michigan governor Rick Snyder, who is currently facing charges.

Snyder faces two counts of wilful neglect of duty for ‘failing to protect the health and safety’ of Flint’s residents.

Other Flint officials are also facing charges over the handling of the crisis.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Shola Lee

Shola Lee began her journalism career while studying for her undergraduate degree at Queen Mary, University of London and Columbia University in New York. She has written for the Columbia Spectator, QM Global Bloggers, CUB Magazine, UniDays, and Warner Brothers' Wizarding World Digital. Recently, Shola took part in the 2021 BAFTA Crew and BBC New Creatives programme before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories, and features.

Topics: News, Michigan, Pollution, USA

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CBS and 3 others