Thursday marks 1,343 days since the people of Flint, Mich., had clean water running through their taps. Although studies continue to claim that the lead levels are much lower, residents are still advised to rely on bottled water and water filters as opposed to using water directly from the tap.
As the people wait for the water in their city to be improved, NPR reports that the city of Flint has come under fire for allegedly violating the terms of a settlement agreement that required the city to provide regular status reports on its progress in replacing lead service lines.
According to the settlement, which was reached in March, the city agreed to spend $100 million to replace thousands of water lines in the city within three years. As part of that agreement, 18,000 residential water-service lines were to be examined and replaced if they were made of lead or galvanized steel. According to data released by the mayor, the city has replaced nearly 5,500 lines so far.
But plaintiffs in the January 2016 lawsuit that led to the settlement say that the city and its administrator are falling short of their obligations, and they filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for Michigan’s Eastern District on Wednesday claiming “plaintiffs cannot know whether the city is administering the agreement’s pipe-replacement program in a comprehensive and health-protective way.”
The plaintiffs say that the city’s status reports “have been late, incomplete, inaccurate or a combination thereof.”
One of the allegations is that the city has not verified whether or not new filters have been installed in homes after service lines have been replaced, which is a part of the settlement. If new filters have not been installed, it exposes the residents to lead spikes that happen after pipes have been replaced.
The city is also accused of not proving that it is keeping track of homes that have declined service-line replacement from the city. Organizations need that information so that they can reach out to homeowners and encourage them to replace their pipes in order to minimize the health risk to the city’s water system.
In addition, the city is accused of being slow to report new customers who join the city’s water system. This prevents an outreach organization from contacting those customers to install water filters and educate them on how to protect themselves from lead.
In their motion, the plaintiffs asked, “If the city cannot collect critical, easily identifiable data and provide it within the agreed-upon timeframes, how can plaintiffs trust that the city is competent to execute the much larger and urgent task of service-line replacement in Flint?”
Read more at NPR.