Flint water samples show further progress

Jim Lynch
The Detroit News

State officials are touting the latest round of water sampling from their sentinel sites in Flint as “progress.”

Of 423 sites recently added to the state’s monitoring program, 91 percent returned samples at or below the federal action level of 15 parts per billion for lead and copper.

Michigan officials are now collecting data on lead contamination from roughly 600 total sites.

“There is still a lot of work to do, and we will not be satisfied that the water is ready until we see the results of many tests that can ensure the water truly is safe to drink,” Gov. Rick Snyder said Tuesday in a press release. “That’s why we are so appreciative of the residents who are willing to work with us to have their water regularly tested as part of this official scientific survey.

“By working together, we can help get people the water they need straight from their tap and help the city and its residents move forward.”

Testing showed that 37 of the new sites testing over 15 parts per billion, eight locations produced results over 100 parts per billion. Those readings prompted immediate notification and will result in home visits from health and environmental officials.

Testing on the first group of sentinel sites was conducted Feb. 10 through Feb. 14.

Officials were alarmed in January by water samples of unfiltered water from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality suggested Flint’s lead contamination in parts of the city was stronger than residential faucet filters can handle, 150 parts per billion.

Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech researcher whose work helped uncover lead contamination in the city’s water, has said the early returns on the new testing also show progress after Flint returned to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in October.

The incoming results are helping to pinpoint Flint’s trouble areas. The Genesee County city has been dealing with water concerns since April 2014 when it began using the Flint River as its source. A failure to treat the water with corrosion controls is believed to have resulted in contaminated drinking water.

JLynch@detroitnews.com

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