Back in 2016 when the Flint, Michigan water crisis was at its height, heads rolled and promises were made. However, recent water tests at elementary schools in Flint, seem to indicate that the situation has actually gotten worse. In February, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality tested 28 samples and found that they were above 15 parts per billion of lead. This is an increase above the federal action limit.
Flint Community Schools haven’t been using tap water since September 2015 but are instead provided with water bottles from the state. That is expected to continue until all lead and galvanized service lines have been replaced.
“The increase may be due to changes in testing conditions, such as the decision to collect samples before flushing lines, said George Krisztian, a department spokesman. Samples collected before flushing tend to have higher lead levels because the water has been in contact with the pipes longer.”1
While these numbers might seem worrisome, according to Krisztian, “the overall results” meet federal guidelines for “lead if treated like samples collected by municipal water systems.”2 Flint Mayor, Karen Weaver, said that city’s chief public health adviser and its director of public works are working with department representatives, public health officials and researchers to review the data. And she is convinced that more work needs to be done:
“…additional work and investigation is needed to determine the source (or sources) of the lead, and what actions must be taken to address and resolve the problem, once and for all.”3
I’m sure that is supposed to make people feel better but if I lived there I wouldn’t be thrilled. Can you imagine being a parent and living there?
Later this month, state officials will conduct another round of testing before making recommendations on how they can help Flint moving forward.