DEQ recommends all schools be tested for lead in drinking water - WNEM TV 5

DEQ recommends all schools be tested for lead in drinking water

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A state official said Flint’s water crisis might not be just a Flint problem.

"I'm concerned that they want to test all the water," said Cristina Campos, a Saginaw resident.

In light of lead being found in Flint's drinking water, Saginaw residents said they couldn't help but fear - it could be a possible in their own backyards.

"I think it's a disgrace for the state of Michigan to allow this to have happened," said Helen Scott, a Saginaw resident.

Campos said she's shocked but not surprised the Department of Environmental Quality is now recommending all schools should be tested for lead in their drinking water.

"We really got to look into it," Campos said.

That appears to be the state's intention, test the water as well as children who live in areas most at risk.

But for Scott, she's wondering who should pay for the added expense.

"We shouldn't have to pay for it," Scott said.

So who should pay for lead testing in children or testing for lead in the drinking water in public schools? Pamela Pugh with the state Board of Education is not siding with the state on this matter.

"Absolutely the state should pay for that, without a doubt,” Pugh said. “Not only should they pay for it but they should make it convenient for parents."

Water treatment plants across the state do of course test the water it treats.

But Pugh said more needs to be done to test access points like drinking fountains and faucets to make sure aging infrastructure is not compromising the treatment process, like what's being blamed for Flint's lead problem.

"I think it's a legitimate concern. I do believe that what has happened in Flint has definitely warranted the concern of parents as well as residents," Pugh said.

As for these Saginaw residents they can't help but be cynical about other necessities we all take for granted.

"Soon we'll have to pay for clean air," Campos said.

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