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Did the Flint Water Department Try to Hide Elevated Lead Levels?

According to Curt Guyette with the Michigan ACLU, as the deadline approached to finish collecting water samples for testing, the Flint Water Department was warned by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality that the samples already collected showed lead levels above the legal limit and would trigger action including public notification of lead in Flint’s water.  We spoke with Mr. Guyette this morning in Dan Land; listen to some of his interview below:

Guyette submitted a FOIA request regarding the city’s testing and discovered that of the 30 samples that came in after this warning, which he also obtained under FOIA, 7 were from residences on Flushing Ave.  Mr. Guyette interviewed residents on Flushing Ave and learned that the water main supplying these homes had been replaced in 2007, reducing the likelihood of extensive corrosion, which he confirmed in city documents.

Of the 30 samples collected after the warning from the MDEQ, none showed actionable levels of lead, which brought the average for the entire sample of 71 below the allowable limit.  Please visit the Michigan ACLU’s Democracy Watch blog for complete details of his research into the Flint water situation.

After finding elevated, actionable levels of lead in water samples collected from 277 residences, Marc Edwards, of Virginia Tech said that based on their testing the chances of 30 random residences all coming in below the actionable lead limit approaches zero. We will talk with Marc Edwards Tuesday morning in Dan Land at 10am.

Curt Guyette is a veteran reporter who covers issues involving emergency management and open government for the ACLU of Michigan.


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