Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor who exposed the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has recently stated that while the water quality in the city is improving, it is still not safe to drink.
According to the EPA anything over 15 parts per billion is unsafe. Samples collected last month in Flint showed the levels of lead to be 22.8 ppb, an improvement compared with 28.5 ppb in August, but still unsafe.
“In our opinion, Flint water is not yet meeting the action level,” Edwards said in a statement. “All Flint residents should continue to use bottled water, or Flint water passed through a lead filter, for cooking or drinking until further notice.”
“Virtually all homes in Flint must be considered at risk, at the present time, for elevated lead in water, unless the homeowner is certain that there is no lead plumbing” he added, “homes that may have tested very low for water lead in past sampling efforts, must be considered at risk for high lead in water—the advice to use bottled or filtered water, applies to all homes, regardless of past testing results.”
Edwards said the lead contamination levels in the water still surpass federal standards and residents should continue to rely on bottled water. Michigan governor Rick Snyder has confirmed Virginia Tech’s findings and recommendations.
“The Governor has said that scientific data will drive our position on the water quality in Flint, not an arbitrary date, and having the work of Marc Edwards and his team to help the state and federal partners with additional studies has been tremendously helpful,” Ari Adler, Snyder’s spokesman, said in the statement.
The crisis began two years ago when the city government, in an effort to safe money, switched its main water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The city switched back to Lake Huron after the contamination was discovered, but its water pipes are still tainted with lead. The cleansing of the pipes has been slowed due to the reluctance of residents to turn on the tap water.