Michigan reaches $600 million settlement for victims of Flint water crisis

It comes six years after lead from pipes leaked into residents' drinking water.

The state of Michigan has agreed to pay victims of the Flint water crisis $600 million as compensation, both sources and officials confirmed Thursday.

The settlement would pay claims from several lawsuits that sought damages for people who suffered illnesses related to the crisis.

The majority of the settlement, about 80%, will go towards minors, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. Settlements for children ages 6 and under amount to 64%, while 10% will go towards children ages 7 to 11 and another 5% will go towards children ages 12 to 17.

It's estimated that tens of thousands of schoolchildren in Flint were exposed to toxic heavy metals in the city's water.

Adults and property damages make up 15% of the settlements, while business and economic loss and relief programs make up the rest.

Some 8,000 children are believed to have some level of lead poisoning in the city, while 150 people died from Legionnaires Disease, according to ABC Detroit affiliate WXYZ.

"The residents of Flint were victims of horrendous decisions by the State, its employees, and other defendants that have resulted in tragic and devastating consequences, Ted Leopold, the court-appointed interim co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. "This public health disaster was the product of a complete disregard for the health and well-being of ordinary citizens."

"While we can never undo the damage that occurred to the citizens and community of Flint, we are pleased that today we were able to secure a measure of justice for the proposed class and the Flint community, and will continue to seek justice against the remaining defendants," Leopold said.

The settlement comes six years after city and state officials allowed lead from old pipes to leak into the residents' drinking water. Some of those pipes have still not been replaced, with the coronavirus pandemic halting the work for several months.

All owners and renters of residential property in Flint who received Flint water between April 25, 2014, and July 31, 2016, will be eligible to receive compensation. All children "who were minors in Flint at the time they were first exposedto Flint water" during that period will also be eligible.

"Providing relief for the people of Flint and resolving these long-standing legal disputes has been a top priority for me since taking office," Nessel said. "This settlement focuses on the children and the future of Flint, and the State will do all it can to make this a step forward in the healing process for one of Michigan's most resilient cities."

The settlement will also include a dedicated fund created to provide special education programming for students who suffer long-term health and behavioral impacts from lead poisoning, the plaintiffs' attorneys said on Thursday.

If the settlement receives final court approval, it is likely to be the largest in Michigan state government history, according to Nessel's office. It was not immediately clear when that final court date would occur.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that while the settlement will not completely help the families affected and some will still feel "justifiable frustrating ... ongoing efforts and today's settlement announcement are important steps in helping all of us move forward."

Attorneys will continue to pursue claims against the remaining defendants on behalf of certain residents and local businesses in the City of Flint harmed by the water crisis, the plaintiffs' attorneys said.

ABC News' Whitney Lloyd contributed to this report.