[Jan 29, 2016] EPA Update on Flint Testing

By Lee-Anne Walters

Lee-Anne Walters will be in contact weekly, to report back to Flint residents on Federal progress. If you send us questions, we will try to get/give answers and post them.

Water Testing:

The EPA A+++ team is doing good science to better understand the nature of Flint’s water lead problem. They are doing sequential (multi) bottle sampling at many homes, using wide mouth bottles at 50 homes where the Flint-VT team found the highest lead results. It is believed that these homes have lead service lines. Nine homes have been sampled so far, and there should be a 1 week turn around on results.

In addition, EPA is now sampling at homes where residents have reported rashes; three homes are on this list and newer ones are being added. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is also involved in these efforts. They are looking at lead and heavy metals in their tests and are sampling from kitchen sinks and bathtubs/showers.

Chlorine monitoring is also being conducted in certain areas where maintaining chlorine residuals might be a problem within the water distribution system. Keeping chlorine levels high, is important to maintain low levels of harmful bacteria.

Townhomes, apartments and duplexes are also being added to the list.

Filter Testing:

Erring on the side of caution, EPA is testing homes with very high lead to make sure the filters are working as expected. EPA has initiated testing the existing filters in place as well as looking at lead levels by changing to new filters to see if the levels are at. Three homes were tested on January 29, 2016. Efforts on this are top priority, they were set out same day as the test and testing to start January 30, 2016. Additional homes were scheduled for testing on January 30, 2016. We will update when we have results.

Health Section:

EPA and CDC are currently working together and have initiated a public outreach effort, primarily a door to door campaign. This effort will help educate residents about routine maintenance of aerators, making sure people have and are using filters, checking service life of the filters, review water data for the home, try to see what the internal service line is made of (i.e., lead, copper, galvanized), and offering sequential water sampling tests to homeowners.

5 thoughts on “[Jan 29, 2016] EPA Update on Flint Testing

  1. What is a potential chloride concentration in groundwater or other potable water sources at which we should be concerned? I understand the EPA threshold for chronic exposure is 230 mg/l but at what level could corrosion be occurring in water delivery infrastructure? Also, having read plenty of research linking mobilization of heavy metals to road salt, once again, should those thresholds be re-examined?

  2. Why can’t the homes w lead b given water systems like Cullegen. Seems it would cost less than all this water and filters. Then work could b done to fix the problem. I know it’s a bandaid but it would help.

  3. I had a question specifically for Lee-Anne Walters–did anyone ever mention that your old neighborhood was built on a dump from the former Fisher Body plant? I saw your old address on the Curt Guyette FOIA document and plugged it into Google maps. Since it was close to my father’s church, I showed it to him and he told me that there had been a clean-up there 30 or 40 years ago (he is 83). I just haven’t seen any mention of it in coverage of the water crisis and your family’s experience. There is an esker running through there–a glacial ridge of sand and gravel–and toxic substances could move through the soils readily–and be pulled into the water pipes if there were leaks. Both this contaminated site (Windiate Park) and another just south of Hemphill are on DEQ’s PArt 201 list–and they both contain lead. Did they ever test your soils? BTW, thanks SO much for everything that you’ve done for Flint’s water situation!!!

    • Suzan Campbell, you bring up a fascinating point. I know your question was directed specifically to Lee-Anne Walters but I felt an urge to get in to the conversation. After watching the Virginia Tech’s team presentation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVHE5ny0MBg), I have been led to believe that the issue has been focused on the lack of anti corrosive precautions, a very legitimate and convincing focus. With that said, I am curious about the soil levels as you are. I am curious about the possibly suspended toxins ability to make their way through the soil to the water supply. It may turn out to have added to the total lead levels. I find the anti corrosive argument to hold strength and to be the primary fault, but I agree that to be comprehensive, that the soils be tested as well. If I find more information on this, I will be sure to report back. Thank you for you and your father’s first hand information!

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