After the State of Michigan stripped the residents of Flint of their ability to elect local representatives, state-appointed officials decided to use the Flint River as a water source without adding corrosion controls. As a result, lead leached from the water pipes and poisoned the drinking water, causing untold harm to the people of Flint.
ACLU of Michigan investigative journalist Curt Guyette helped to expose the water crisis, and the ACLU of Michigan and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a federal lawsuit against state and city officials seeking a court order requiring them to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act. The goal of the lawsuit, filed in 2016, was to require the state and the city to replace the lead pipes and, in the meantime, ensure that officials deliver safe drinking water. Judge David Lawson granted our request for door-to-door bottled water delivery and filter installation, and soon after recommended that the parties enter mediation.
In 2017 we reached an unprecedented settlement for $97 million requiring the state and city to replace all lead and galvanized pipes throughout Flint, allocate resources for health and wellness programs, continue door-to-door filter installation and education, and extensively monitor Flint’s tap water for lead. We continue to monitor compliance and, when necessary, file motions to enforce aspects of the settlement. The city plans to complete excavations and replacements at all remaining homes in Flint by the end of 2021.
(Concerned Pastors for Social Action v. Khouri; ACLU Attorneys Bonsitu Kitaba-Gaviglio, Michael J. Steinberg, and Dan Korobkin; Dimple Chaudhary, Sarah Tallman, and Jared Knicley of NRDC; co-counsel Glenn Simmington.)