More exemplary comments on ES&T rebuttal from Environmental Engineering Colleagues

Dear Marc,

We wanted to pass along a quick note to express our strong support for the views expressed in your rebuttal to the editorial “Crossing the Imaginary Line” by David Sedlak in ES&T. We admire the tremendously difficult, courageous, and important work that you and your research team have done in Washington DC and are continuing to do in Flint, Michigan. Your work has uncovered severe public health crises in our country, given underserved communities a voice, and contributed to improving drinking water quality. Thank you for your efforts to uphold the first canon of civil engineering.

We view the original ES&T editorial and your rebuttal as a teachable moment for engineering students and for academia. We all must understand our professional responsibilities, including our ethical obligation to speak out when the science and data demand it.

You serve as an excellent example to us all. Please keep up the good work.

Yours truly,

Joe DeCarolis, Detlef Knappe, Morton Barlaz, Emily Berglund, Doug Call, Daniel Obenour, James Levis, Francis de los Reyes, Andy Grieshop, Joel Ducoste, Fernando Garcia Menendez, Tarek Aziz

CDC and MDHHS Investigation into the Shigella Outbreak in Genesee and Saginaw Counties

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and local health officials intimated healthcare providers and community members about their investigation into the Shigella outbreak in Genesee and Saginaw counties on November 17th 2016. We welcome and support the results of this investigation.

The letter to community members:

Download (PDF, 525KB)

The letter to healthcare providers:

Download (PDF, 463KB)

Up to date results of this investigation can be found on the MDHHS Website.

Congressman Dan Kildee Introduces the NO LEAD Act to improve Lead and Copper Rule


November 14, 2016

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today introduced comprehensive legislation  in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) within nine months. The National Opportunity for Lead Exposure Accountability and Deterrence Act (NO LEAD Act) would improve lead testing procedures by banning techniques that disguise lead levels in water and prioritize testing for facilities with pregnant mothers and children. Additionally, it would provide more information to the public on the safety of their drinking water and lower the level of lead contamination in drinking water that would trigger when a public water system (PWS) must act to remove lead from drinking water.

“Due to many deficiencies in the Lead and Copper rule, Michigan regulators were able to distort and cover up testing results that would have alerted Flint residents of issues in their drinking water. It has been 25 years since the lead and copper rule has seen a major revision. I have worked with scientists and drinking water policy experts to align the Lead and Copper rule with modern science,” said Congressman Dan Kildee.

This bill comes after the EPA has failed to make a major update to the lead and copper rule since 1991.

“I applaud Congressman Kildee’s leadership on this important issue.  It is essential that the EPA finalize strong and protective requirements for lead in drinking water, to protect the people of Flint and prevent the next Flint,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).

Details on Congressman Kildee’s legislation are below:


  • Lowering the Action Level: The bill lowers the action level from 15 parts per billion (ppb) currently, to 10 ppb by 2020 and 5 ppb by 2026. This will align the LCR with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regulations for bottled water.
  • Action Level Exceedance: If an individual building tests above the action level the building resident and the entire population served by the PWS must be notified within two days. Also, there must be an onsite investigation at the building within 10 business days of the testing to determine the scope of the lead issues.


  • Water Sampling: Public water systems (PWSs) must include all water testing done in their compliance reporting.
  • Sampling Protocol Instructions: The EPA must develop a scientifically-based universal testing protocol that prohibits the use of techniques that minimize detecting lead in drinking water. Further, testing must prioritize high-risk buildings, such as those where children or pregnant women live. Finally, testing must be done at least once per year at all drinking water outlets in schools and day care facilities.


  • Service Line Replacement: If a service line must be replaced, the entire service line from the transmission line to the house must be replaced; partial line replacement is prohibited. When replacing service lines, priority must be given to the most high-risk buildings such as those with pregnant women and children residing in them.
  • Service Line Inventory: Within three years, every PWS must create a publicly accessible inventory of the location, composition, any previous work done on and legal ownership of all the service lines it serves.


  • Public Education: Water testing results must be in a standardized format and be posted on the websites of both local and state governments and the EPA. Also, information regarding available financial assistance to replace lead service lines and how to request a water test must also be posted.
  • Consumer Confidence Report: The annual Consumer Confidence Report, required of all PWS, must be publicly available online or be mailed to all residents of the PWS. This bill also requires the consumer confidence report to provide additional information about lead testing, including:
  • The address, date and history for each specific site where sampling was done.
  • The material composition of the service line at each test site as well as an explanation if any sampling is not done at a facility with a lead service line.
  • The test results for the highest and median lead levels and number and value of all test results above the action level.
  • The stated reason for invalidating any test samples.
  • The types of disinfectants and corrosion controls being used to treat the water and any major changes in treatment in the previous year.
  • The history of violations and fines the system has received.


Press Release obtained from: