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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Residents downwind of the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant might have their settlement money in the mail by the end of October, a lawyer said Monday.

Approval from a federal judge is required before the roughly 7,500 plaintiffs awaiting the money will receive the first of two installments, said Merrill Davidoff, a Philadelphia lawyer whose firm is administering claims .

The larger of the two sums will be paid out in the first payment. The second payout will come at some point in 2018.

The money is part of a settlement after it was determined residents lost value to their homes because of the plant.

Winds near Rocky Flats supposedly carried the plutonium released by the plant to nearby homes, particularly those living to the east of the plant.

Claims from plaintiffs range from $15,000 to $36,000. The sum was intended to match the value lost on the homes in 1989.