The Virginia Tech Research Team

We are an independent research team from Virginia Tech (VT) volunteering our time, resources and expertise to help resolve scientific uncertainties associated with drinking water issues being reported (also, see here) in the City of Flint, MI.

Study Aims

a) To support citizen scientists concerned about public health, by empowering Flint residents and stakeholders with independent information about their tap water;

b) To study impacts of water age and current water quality on Flint’s water distribution systems as well as issues of elevated lead and opportunistic pathogens in premise plumbing (OPPPs),

c) To summarize findings from a and b to inform decision making and policy considerations, if necessary, on the part of both citizens and government agencies in the city,

d) To develop a comprehensive online repository (this website) as data and information become available.

Research Team and Training

Our work is being conducted with an open mind, and all our findings are backed by state-of-the-art analytical tools. We gratefully acknowledge the National Science Foundation’s* support for the following research grants: a) RAPID Response (CBET-1556258) grant and b) the Bridging the Gap Between Engineers and Society: Learning to Listen (EEC-1135328) grant.  These and discretionary funds from Professor Marc Edwards help support our efforts to advance scientific understanding at this important research frontier of environmental engineering-infrastructure degradation-public health. Most members of our team are doing undergraduate or graduate research on these same subjects.

*Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this research website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.

Ethics Statement

Team members Clark, Devine, Garner, Ji, Mantha, Martin, Masters, Metch, Nystrom, Rhoads, Richards, Roy, Tang and Zhu have also taken a graduate-level Engineering Ethics and the Public course at Virginia Tech co-developed and co-taught by Drs. Yanna Lambrinidou (Founder, Parents for Non-toxic Alternatives and Affiliate Faculty with the Science and Technology Studies program, VT) and Marc Edwards (Professor of Civil Engineering, VT). Interviews and interactions being conducted with the community and the stakeholders are, therefore, grounded in current ethnographic research and tools developed by Dr. Lambrinidou around ‘transformational listening’ (including three Learning to Listen aka L2L exercises). Dr. Lambrinidou’s research is available in peer-reviewed articles:

Research Team (Aug 2015-present)

Undergraduate Students: Madeleine Brouse, Margaret Carolan, Hanniyah Chapman, Kandace Donaldson, Sara Chergaoui*, Matthew Dowdle*, Kim Hughes*, Rebecca Jones, Mariana Martinez*, Philip Smith*, Alison Vick

Graduate Students (in alphabetical order): Taylor Bradley*, Christina Devine, Catherine Grey*, Anurag Mantha, Rebekah Martin, Jake Metch*, Victoria Nystrom*, Colin Richards*, Laurel Strom*, Owen Strom*, Ni “Joyce” Zhu

Post-docs/Research Scientists (in alphabetical order): Drs. Brandi Clark*, Dongjuan Dai, Emily Garner, Pan Ji*, Sheldon Masters*, Jeffrey Parks, Kelsey Pieper, William Rhoads, Siddhartha Roy, David “Otto” Schwake*, Min Tang, Fei Wang*

Staff: Cassandra Hockman

Principal Investigators: Dr. Marc Edwards, Dr. Amy Pruden, Dr. Joseph Falkinham III

* graduated and/or no longer at Virginia Tech


This website is inspired from WASAwatch (Dr. Yanna Lambrinidou), the West Virginia Water Crisis website (Dr. Krista Bryson), and Dr. Andy Whelton’s research during the WV water crisis. Their work serves as a model for public outreach and engagement, science communication, and advocacy.

Get in touch

Send us an email: [email protected] 

Student Leader/ Communications Director: Siddhartha Roy

GoFundMe Fundraising: Anurag Mantha

Web Outreach: Siddhartha Roy, William Rhoads, Anurag Mantha, Rebekah Martin

Acknowledgements: for the Flint custom logo (licensed under a Creative Commons license and freely available for noncommercial use) present in our website banner/icons
(Original link:

43 thoughts on “The Virginia Tech Research Team

    • What sort of contamination do the resin particles of a water softner retain after these type of events?
      Indiana wouldn’t allow replacement which seemed to be the source of little white balls appearing to be the styrene contamination (mineral deposits are not spongy) months after the water was deemed safe. It is a difficult appliance to rinse out and having a plastic tub perhaps aids the resins retention of the styrene with static. But I suppose with all the mineral formations in a hot water heater such pollution may take years to free itself to float out the pipe of that which gets trapped in the mineral deposits trying to rinse out the drain line

  1. Convinced Flint has a problem with their water supply and doubt issue will be resolved in a timely manner by the politicians and govt. I am concerned about daughter returning to Kettering University and living off campus. Is there a good source for obtaining POU filters for kitchen, shower, & teeth cleaning? Thank you.

  2. […] of lead in water of the city. More information about our team, our goals and training is here: Dr. Marc Edwards, Siddhartha Roy and Anurag Mantha will be answering your questions, today. We will […]

  3. […] After the switch, residents reported that the water started to look, smell and taste odd. State officials promised the water was good. The Mayor drank the water on public television to assure citizens of its quality. Residents said it looked dirty. Some people thought the color came from sewage, but it was actually iron. The Flint River is highly corrosive: 19 times more so than the Lake Huron supply, according to researchers from Virginia Tech. […]

  4. My home in Flint tested 2 weeks ago at 5ppb for lead using the test kit supplied by the city. For a household of one person over the age of 70, with no infant visitors, is this water safe to drink?

  5. I saw your PBS interview on Flint. You did well. I wanted to ask you Mark if you could directme on the Dig Deep program in Thoreau, New Mexico. Can I find out about the Arsinic poisioning from the 800 plus mines there. I,m very concerned about NO water to the Navajo Peoples there. Any help would be appreciated. Keep up the pressure on the EPA. Thank you Larry Tow

  6. You are my inspiration, I own few web logs and very sporadically run out from post :). “Follow your inclinations with due regard to the policeman round the corner.” by W. Somerset Maugham.

  7. I grew up in Michigan. Thank you for doing what you can to save such a beautiful state and wonderful people. They may not have the eloquence of Southerners, but at least they don’t lie. Thank you, thank you.

  8. […] Dr. Edwards started collaborating with Flint Mom LeeAnne Walters and EPA Scientist Miguel Del Toral in April 2014. Over the next three months Edwards reported hazardous waste levels of lead in Walters home, contributed scientific data to Del Toral’s EPA memo outlining the imminent and substantial endangerment to Flint residents, and collaborated with ACLU-Michigan reporter Curt Guyette on his investigative reporting. All of that work was done behind the scenes to the extent possible, minimizing Edwards’ public role.  It was only after Del Toral was silenced in late July 2015 that Flintwaterstudy launched publicly. […]

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