Virginia Tech researcher: the pipes are healing - WNEM TV 5

Virginia Tech researcher: the pipes are healing

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

On a typical Wednesday night at the White Horse Tavern, the city's water woes wouldn't be the topic of choice.

But right now, nothing's typical in Flint.

"You've got people that are scared that don't want to drink the water," said Steve Poulos.          

Poulos, owner of the White Horse Tavern, has installed filters and tested the water several times – each time getting results saying it's safe.

But there remains a shadow of doubt for businesses on the city line.

"We're just getting a bad, worse rap than I think we deserve," Poulos said.

But, there's cautious optimism it's getting better, from the whistleblower himself.

"The irony is today, probably the water is safer than it's been before the switch," said Dr. Marc Edwards.

Edwards is the Virginia Tech civil engineer who alerted the community high levels of lead were flowing through the taps.

He said it appears the pipes are healing and the lead problem is improving.

"The recent data from the state shows the lead levels are lower, and that's consistent with our own data," Edwards said.

He said corrosion controls seem to be coating the pipes, reducing the leaching of the dangerous metal.

"And quite frankly, if the water is tested today, according to the federal law, I would not be surprised if it passed," Edwards said. "But people have to keep using the filters and using the bottled water until the all clear is given."

For some people in the community, this is what they've been waiting to hear.

"Hopefully that gets projected so people know, like my wife, so she can settle down a little bit," said White Horse customer, Larry Buhagiar.

But others aren't buying it and said they don't know what to trust.

"And once you lie to a person, you lose that trust in them," said White Horse customer, Justice Thigpen.

Poulos said he's optimistic this could be the light at the end of the tunnel.

"That's good news, that's good news. Flint is going to recover," Poulos said.

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