Judge gives preliminary OK to $641M Flint water deal

Flint Water Crisis

In this March 21, 2016, file photo, the Flint Water Plant water tower is seen in Flint, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has granted preliminary approval to a $641 million deal that would benefit Flint residents who were harmed by lead-contaminated water.

The settlement includes $600 million from the state of Michigan, although Flint, an area hospital and an engineering firm are also part of the agreement.

Federal Judge Judith Levy signed off in a 72-page opinion. Her preliminary approval triggers a monthslong process during which Flint residents can object and pursue their own claims.

State regulators allowed Flint to use the Flint River in 2014-15 without treating the water to reduce corrosion. As a result, lead in old pipes broke off and flowed through taps. Experts have also blamed the water for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which led to at least 12 deaths.

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