DEQ says Flint River safe, corrosion concern - WNEM TV 5

DEQ says Flint River safe, corrosion concern

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After switching from Detroit water, a city’s year-long water troubles have hit a crescendo after a study found elevated levels of lead in the city’s children.

“We recognize this is a serious situation, lead exposure is the issue,” said Michigan Department of Environmental Quality director, Dan Wyant.

But what role did the DEQ play in the decision to switch to the Flint River as a source?

“The DEQ has a responsibility, regardless of the water source, to be there to test to make sure it is safe,” Wyant said.

Wyant said, though the department didn't make the decision, they claim they did take some precautions prior to the switch.

The DEQ said they tested the river water prior to the switch and said it was safe to drink then.

It wasn't until after the switch, the water mixed with the infrastructure and became a problem

“We're confident when it leaves the plant it is fine, but when it goes into the private service line, if there is a lead connection, a lead sotter, copper lead faucet, that's a real concern,” Wyant said.

Wyant said the short-term action is taking care of public health, testing water at homes, and for many, not drinking the water.

The next step is figuring out how to control the corrosion of the lead pipes.

“We have an issue with corrosion control and we're addressing corrosion controls, trying to put those in place going forward,” Wyant said.

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