A federal judge has ordered bottled water must be delivered to Flint residents unless officials can prove there is an operating, properly-installed water filter in their home.
U.S. District Judge David M. Lawson issued a preliminary injunction Thursday, Nov. 10, that also requires residents be provided with clear and current information about the lead contamination of their water supply and notices must be presented in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Hmong.
Concerned Pastors for Social Action, Flint resident Melissa Mays, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the ACLU of Michigan sought the injunction as part of a case brought under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
"The Court today affirmed that all people have the right the safe drinking water, including the people of Flint, Michigan," said Dimple Chaudhary, Senior Attorney with NRDC. "The court correctly recognized that the government created this crisis, and it's the government's responsibility to ensure that all people in Flint have access to safe drinking water."
The decision requires the city and the state to provide door-to-door delivery of four cases of bottled water per week per resident unless the home is exempt from the program.
Homes can only become exempt if they opt out of delivery, refuse to permit the installation and maintenance of a faucet filter, if officials regularly verify a filter is properly installed and maintained at the home or the home is unoccupied.
"This is a very significant victory for the people of Flint, who now have the assurance from a federal court that they will have access to safe drinking water every day," said Pastor Robert Blake, a member of the Concerned Pastors for Social Action. "But there's still much more to do to fix Flint. As I testified in court, poverty is high in Flint, but just because you have impoverished people, we ought not treat them like third-world people."
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