A federal judge ordered Thursday that residents of Flint, MI will be delivered shipments of bottled water more than two years after the crisis that left nearly all of the public water sources undrinkable and contaminated with lead.
The New York Times reports that Judge David M. Lawson of Federal District Court ruled that city and state officials of Flint must begin providing Flint residents at least 96 half-liter bottles of water a week until they figure out a permanent solution. The decision doesn’t apply to everybody; households that have already installed properly working filters, unoccupied households and those who decline the services will not receive the deliveries.
In his preliminary injunction, Judge Lawson made it clear that the ongoing problem in Flint was up to the city to fix on its own. “How the water crisis is resolved ultimately will be left to the City of Flint and the State of Michigan,” he said. “Nonetheless, there is an immediate danger to Flint residents.”
The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by Concerned Pastors for Social Change; Melissa Mays, a Flint resident; the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan; and the Natural Resources Defense Council. In addition to the now-mandatory bottled water delivery, officials are required to provide information about contamination levels and how to properly install filters in a variety of languages including English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Hmong.
Flint had been resistant to the water delivery solution for months, claiming that residents had access to distribution centers throughout the city as well as city-provided filters. But Judge Lawson argued that residents struggled to get water from the distribution centers and that factors like old age, language barriers and a lack of necessary tools prevented proper installation of the filters.
The ruling is effective immediately. Consider this a tiny bit of good news.