New Tests Show Flint’s Water Problems Are Not Yet Behind Us
It would appear that switching back to Detroit water hasn't eradicated our problems yet, as Flint elementary schools and some other areas still have dangerous lead levels in their drinking water.
Ever since the move to the Flint River as the city's primary water source, a maneuver for which the infrastructure was ill-equipped, it seems like their has been more time wherein the water was not safe for consumption. After a problematic 18 months filled with boil advisories, health concerns, and, eventually, doctors flat-out telling us not to drink it -- Governor Snyder decided to pull the plug on his failed program and was "kind enough" to let a local organization pony up roughly half of the cash needed to switch back to Detroit water. Problem solved, right? Nope.
Flint went back to Detroit water on October 16th, and city officials said it would take 3 weeks for all of the highly corrosive Flint River water to be flushed out of the system. We're well past the 3 week mark now, and still having lead problems. Virginia Tech University Professor Marc Edwards said the following in response to results from the latest round of water tests:
"Things are much better, but the water is still not safe to drink ... For the foreseeable future, you are going to have to continue using filters ... My best estimate is you would be under federal standards in as little as a month from today."
Flint's Eisenhower Elementary and Freeman Elementary are still showing elevated lead levels in the water as well. The schools' water samples were taken in late October, so whether their water will test in the safe zone once the Flint River water is completely flushed from the system remains to be seen. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the schools' issues are mainly caused by old plumbing that needs to be replaced.
It all sounds like its still very much a guessing game. The Flint River water is out, but has too much damage already been done to some of those old pipes? Will they ever be a viable route for clean, safe water again? Only time will tell.