Metro Detroit’s regional water authority has created a work group focused on water quality and minimizing lead exposure in Metro Detroit communities.

The work group, made up of Great Lakes Water Authority staff and customer community representatives, will provide the public with information on lead and water safety, officials said Wednesday. Officials said the work group’s first meeting will likely be held next month.

Its primary focus will be supporting efforts to minimize lead exposure within the communities served by the GLWA system.

“Quality has been, and always will be, the priority goal of the Great Lakes Water Authority,” said Sue McCormick, the authority’s CEO, in a statement. “We are creating this work group in collaboration with our customer communities so that residents in every GLWA community can be assured that they will continue to be provided safe, reliable and quality water throughout the GLWA system.”

Officials said the group will also focus on the heavily scrutinized 25-year-old federal Lead and Copper rule and on new Environmental Protection Agency voluntary guidelines. The EPA’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council is expected to make recommendations on the Lead and Copper rule to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy later this year.

The rule has come under fire most recently because water experts argue its ambiguity led to the failure to protect customers of Flint’s water system when it came online with river water in April 2014 without corrosion controls. The lack of that treatment as well as how testing was done has been blamed for allowing high levels lead to spread throughout the municipal water system, poisoning residents.

Flint returned to Detroit’s water system, which is run by the GLWA, in October to prevent further damage.

As the GLWA work group becomes more established, information will be released to the public to help educate and inform people how to best protect themselves and their families from potential sources of lead in piping and home plumbing fixtures that predate modern material standards.

“This work group will be comprised of volunteers who share our passion for water quality, applying that passion to embrace the spirit of new voluntary guidelines as they become available, and working to support their application throughout the entire GLWA service area,” McCormick said.

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