Lead levels down at high-risk sites in Flint

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

A third round of water testing at high-risk sites in Flint shows a decrease in lead levels, state officials said Friday.

“It’s promising to see lead levels in Flint finally being more comparable to other municipalities across the state,” Snyder said in a statement Friday. “The federal action level under the Lead and Copper Rule is 15 parts per billion, so seeing a downward trend to below that level in Flint is very good news.”

In the latest results released from the state’s Extended Sentinel Site Program, 93 percent of the 163 samples taken were at or below the lead action level of 15 parts per billion. Results last month showed 91 percent of sites below the federal action limit.

Locations tested in the program are homes most likely to have elevated lead levels, such as those with lead service lines.

“The latest results are especially encouraging given the high temperatures during the testing period, which can increase the amount of lead that could potentially leach into the water,” officials said.

The results of the latest testing came as Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Friday that six state employees were criminally charged over the city’s water crisis. Charges were authorized against three Department of Health and Human Services employees and three Department of Environmental Quality employees.

State regulators failed to require corrosion control chemicals while the city used Flint River water between April 2014 and October 2015. Experts believe the harsh water caused damage to the city’s aging underground pipelines.

Flint has returned to Detroit’s Lake Huron water source as Karegnondi Water Authority completes a new regional pipeline.