City issues lead advisory over pipe corrosion - WNEM TV 5

City issues lead advisory over pipe corrosion

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Levels of lead found in a local city’s water system has community leaders cautioning residents against using the water.

“As a father, I want every household in flint to be safe and secure,” said Mayor Dayne Walling.

Flint’s advisory comes a day after local doctors issued their own warning about unsafe levels of lead found in tap water.

 “No amount of lead is of any benefit. So we want to reduce the exposure as much as we can,” said Genesee County Health Officer Mark Valacak.

In a city that has been scrutinized for its water quality for a while now, this news is not shocking to many.

But this is where things get controversial.

“I want to make it clear that the water that's coming from the treatment plant is meeting the federal EPA  guidelines,” Valacak said.

It's after the water leaves the plant that the water becomes contaminated.

At the press conference, Walling said since the city switched to using water from the Flint River, the lead problem has been much worse.

City officials said that is because the river water is more corrosive to the old infrastructure, which adds lead to your water.

“Because the lead is introduced once the lead sits in the pipes,” Valacak said.

Hurley Medical Center released data Thursday showing blood-lead levels of Flint children has increased two percent since the switch to Flint water.

So what happens next?

“There's problems that can be fixed with greater funding,” Walling said. “There are issues that be better addressed with more technical assistance. I'm asking and working on those every single day.”

Until then, health officials said residents might want to take precautions.

Among those precautions, the superintendent of Flint Community Schools, Bilal Tawwab is asking for students to be sent to school with bottled water and to refrain from using drinking fountains.

We are seeking donations of bottled water at all of our schools and have reached out to community partners who can help us ensure all our students are safe and healthy during the school day.

The city is working with the DEQ to get corrosion control for Flint’s water system, but it could be up to 90 days before it’s approved.

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