Michigan has reached a $600 million agreement to compensate Flint residents whose health was damaged by lead-tainted drinking water after the city heeded state regulators’ advice not to treat it properly, multiple news outlets reported Wednesday.
Details will be released later this week, according to reports by The Detroit News, MLive.com and WXYZ-TV.
The offices of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have been negotiating for more than 18 months with attorneys for thousands of Flint residents who have filed lawsuits against the state.
Ryan Jarvi, a spokesman for Nessel, declined to confirm the reports of a deal Wednesday night.
“We and the other parties are bound by a federal court order to maintain the confidentiality of detailed settlement and mediation communications until we reach a certain point,” Jarvi said. “We have not yet reached the point where we can discuss a potential settlement.”
The settlement is intended to resolve all legal actions against the state for its role in a disaster that made the impoverished, majority-Black city a nationwide symbol of governmental mismanagement.
A state-appointed emergency manager was in charge in 2014 when Flint switched its water source from the city of Detroit to the Flint River to save money. State officials advised the city not to apply corrosion controls to the water, which was contaminated by lead from aging pipes.