Michigan agrees to $600 million settlement in Flint water crisis, with most money going to children

September 22, 2020

After 18 months of negotiations, the state of Michigan agreed in August to pay $600 million to individuals and businesses affected by the water crisis in the town of Flint, with close to two-thirds of the money going to children age 6 and under at the time of their first exposure. The crisis in Michigan’s seventh-largest city began in 2014, when the town’s supply of water was switched to the Flint River, leading to toxic levels of lead in drinking water. The consequences included an uptick in deaths from Legionnaires’ disease and lead poisoning among children.

Most of the settlement money will be earmarked for young people: 64.5 percent for ages 6 and under, 10 percent for ages 7 to 11, and 5 percent for ages 12 to 17. Money also will go to local special-education services, as well as to pay the claims of adults and to compensate individuals for property damage and business losses.

Even prior to the August settlement, Michigan had spent more than $400 million on its response to the Flint water emergency. For example, it is helping the city replace all of its lead service lines and putting money toward nutrition programs, child health care services, early-childhood programs, and lead prevention and abatement. The state also has adopted the nation’s strictest standards for lead and copper in drinking water.