By Lee-Anne Walters
We are SO excited to announce that the EPA will likely be funding Virginia Tech and the citizens of Flint, to repeat the 300 home (271 kit returned) citizen sampling effort! By repeating the sampling of the same 271 homes that we tested in August 2015, we will be helping with two dimensions of the disaster response:
- The August 2015 test is the only sampling event in Flint from the time of the high lead in water, that was done in accordance with the intent of the Lead and Copper Rule.
- It is the best way to understand what has happened to lead levels in the water since August 2015 (and especially after the switch back to Detroit water in October 2015).
We are still working on securing a site for the Town Hall Meeting between the citizens and the EPA. We will update once we have all the details. This is what people have been asking for since January 2015 so we are making sure it will be done properly, so stay tuned.
A lot of distribution system monitoring data is being collected by the EPA. This is being done because it is one of the first steps before lead service line replacement can take place. It is essentially a three part process. Step one is to analyze the water to achieve system optimization. Step two is to get a good understanding on when the water gets back to normal. Step three would be service line replacements.
I want people to understand that service line replacement is what we are waiting for, but there are some issues that EPA would like to see addressed before it moves forward. Specifically, there is still work being done to figure out the status of valves in the system. If a water main breaks as service lines are being replaced and if the valves do not work at that time, it will be hard to fix and repair the water main.
EPA also wants to know, if the neighbors surrounding where the service line replacements happen may also need to be supplied filters and bottled water for a minimum of three months after the replacement because of the disturbance caused. There is concern that the replacements will stir up lead at nearby houses.
We also need a good study on the chlorine levels throughout the system, to be sure the water is safe city wide. The chlorine study (intensive monitoring by the EPA throughout the system) being done right now will continue for a few months.