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FILE - In this March 21, 2016 file photo, the Flint Water Plant water tower is seen in Flint, Mich. Michigan environmental officials announced Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, that Flint's water system no longer has levels of lead exceeding the federal limit. The finding by the Department of Environmental Quality is good news for a city whose 100,000 residents have grappled with the man-made water crisis since 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

A federal judge approved an $87 million settlement in the Flint water lawsuit


A federal judge on Tuesday approved a settlement in which the state of Michigan will pay $87 million for the City of Flint to identify and replace at least 18,000 unsafe water lines by 2020, USA Today reported. The judge's ruling comes three years after it had been discovered that the city's water supply was contaminated with lead after it had switched the drinking water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. 

The deal also requires Michigan to pay $895,000 to the plaintiffs who brought the 2016 lawsuit to cover litigation costs.

"In my view, the settlement agreement is fair, adequate, reasonable and consistent with the public interest and it furthers the objectives of the safe water drinking act," U.S. District Judge David Lawson said. "I believe it is in the best interest of the citizens of Flint and the citizens of the sate of Michigan."

Under the terms of the settlement, they will get a schedule for water line replacement while the state gets a schedule for weaning Flint off the community resource stations where bottled water, water filters and filter replacement cartridges are distributed at no cost. 

Depending on the test results, the water centers could close as early as September 1.

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