Researchers upbeat, say Flint water improving from lead mess

Aug 12, 2016, 00:59
Researchers upbeat, say Flint water improving from lead mess

A year ago, the first round revealed the city's tap water was contaminated with lead. While the findings showed continued improvement, Edwards urged residents to continue the use of bottled and filtered water.

Edwards and other researchers spoke at a news conference in Blacksburg, Virginia.

"It is very possible that the City of Flint is passing the Lead and Copper Rule standard, but we can't say that", Edwards said.

While waiting for a pipeline to be built to Lake Huron, Flint drew water from the Flint River but didn't treat it for corrosion.

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The Flint water crisis drew widespread attention last fall when government officials finally acknowledged a risky level of lead in water supply was likely caused by failing to add corrosion controls to a new water source. A USA Today report found excessive lead levels in almost 2,000 water systems in all 50 states.

Edwards and his team have taken water samples from 162 randomly selected homes since August 2015.

Researchers reported Thursday that 45 percent of homes tested in July showed no detectable levels of lead.

Lead levels are dropping in Flint, Michigan, but residents should still flush taps, according to test results Virginia Tech researchers announced Thursday. "Professor Edwards said today that he would like to see not only the lead pipes in Flint replaced, but the fixtures as well".

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Still, the city is not officially in compliance with the federal Lead and Copper Rule, which governs the allowable level of lead in drinking water.

"Statements from independent experts will reassure residents who may have lost some trust in government", Snyder said.

Flint's mayor, Karen Weaver, called the findings "encouraging", but also said it's important for residents to heed Edwards' advice and continue to use filters and bottled water. A few dozen have been completed, and contracts were approved Wednesday for the next phase of work.

"We hope to have crews out on the job within the next couple of weeks", she said.

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