Panel advises city leaders to switch to Detroit water, residents - WNEM TV 5

Panel advises city leaders to switch to Detroit water, residents frustrated by secrecy

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About 30 city and community leaders packed into a room at city hall on Wednesday to discuss the city's water problems and how to fix them.

Virginia Tech Professor Marc Edwards spoke at the meeting via speaker phone to lay out the results of tests he's conducted.

He said high lead levels were found in the water being pumped to homes across the city from the Flint River.

He also noted high levels of chlorine were shown as well.

But Flint residents were not allowed inside the meeting which concerned resident Elizabeth Taylor, but a live stream was available.

"Makes us think something suspicious is going on," Taylor said.

The 72-year-old says she participated in the Virginia Tech water sample study.

Her results showed high levels of lead and she wants to know what going to be done to fix the problem, before it gets even worse.

"I suspect my hot water tank and my washing machine are also being corroded and no one seems to be open and honest and direct," Taylor said.

After all the technical talk, city administrator Natasha Henderson asked a panel of experts, the Blue Ribbon Panel, for their opinion: should the city switch back to getting water from Detroit until the KWA pipeline is complete next year, or not?

A local pediatrician said if there's any question the current water source is harmful to the health of adults and children in the city, it's not worth the risk.

"We need to switch to a different water source. A Lake Huron water source," the pediatrician said. "Right now the quickest connection is with Detroit. Then we can assess what’s going on. But we can't stay where we are. But we can't stay in the spot where we are now. It's morally and unethically unacceptable. And as a physician I cannot support that."

Henderson said, as a resident of Flint herself, she's also in favor of switching back.

"If there is a choice, taking finance off the table, I can say that I would like to go back to DWSD as a resident and as a city administrator," Henderson said. 

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