The state of Michigan will pay the plaintiffs of lawsuits stemming from the Flint Water Crisis more than $500 million. According to the Detroit News, specific details of the settlement will be made available on Friday. The development comes after several years of litigation.
“If money is how government expresses sorrow for its crimes—this is a big apology,” said Marc Edwards, a civil engineering professor and water expert in reaction to the Flint settlement. Edwards spearheaded the study team responsible for exposing the city’s lead contamination. His efforts inspired another study on the children of Flint, Michigan.
The money from the Flint settlement is expected to largely be earmarked for the young people who were poisoned by the water supply after government officials changed the source of the city’s water in 2014. It’s been estimated that more than 100,000 people were exposed to elevated lead levels. As many as 12,000 were affected by lead poisoning.
According to the The New York Times, individual amounts paid out to residents will depend on their degree of suffering and damage from consuming the water. More than 79 lawsuits have been filed pertaining to the matter. Reports have not revealed whether all will be addressed with the multimillion-dollar settlement that marks more than 18 months of negotiations.
Michigan has also filed a lawsuit going after the engineering companies that were hired by Flint to consult officials on the shift in the water source. According to the Detroit News, Michigan’s attorney general has previously stated that any settlement against the engineering companies would help offset any settlement the state is required to pay.
Anyone who resided in Flint between 2014 and 2016 could be eligible to collect on the Flint settlement. The Times reports that payments are expected to be released beginning in the spring of 2021.