Virginia Tech officials give update on quality of Flint's water - WNEM TV 5

Virginia Tech officials give update on quality of Flint's water

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Water conditions continue to improve in the city of Flint, according to the latest testing results.

This is the third round of lead water testing in the city and the second round of water heater disinfection by-product testing. The results are based on samples collected door to door.

Virginia Tech Professor Marc Edwards and his Flint Water Study team made the announcement Thursday that water conditions have shown continued improvement between August 2015 through July 2016.  

“This process of healing is going to continue. In the next six months to a year I think we’re going to see dramatic improvements. We’re just pointing out that things are on their way,” Edwards said.

Researchers reported that 45 percent of homes tested in July showed no detectable levels of lead. Edwards, says the situation is "dramatically better" than last year when he sounded the alarm over lead, due to a lack of corrosion controls.

The water samples were randomly collected from 162 homes in the city.  

In August 2015, Edwards’ team collected samples from locations across Flint and found extremely high levels of lead and other contaminants in the city’s drinking water.

The team’s work is credited with exposing the issue.

Residents have also been dealing with an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease as a result of the lead water crisis.

Legionella is bacteria that causes a type of lung infection leading to pneumonia. It can be found in water systems such as hot tubs, air conditioners and hot water heaters.

This summer, engineering students from Virginia Tech began examine the water quality in residential hot water heaters to evaluate the effects of cleaning the heaters through flushing. 

The team collected samples from homes over a two-week period and found one-time flushing of water heaters does not significantly reduce inorganic contaminates, nor does it reduce the amount of chlorine levels in homes. 

It’s a result that surprised Edwards.

“We thought that cleaning out these water heaters would improve the situation. Despite what was a very intensive cleaning effort…we could not see any observable improvement after that cleaning,” he said. 

There has also been testing on the amounts of chloroform and other byproducts present in Flint’s drinking water. Testing earlier this year showed Flint’s water had met the federal standard for chloroform after its water supply source was switched to Lake Huron.

TV5 will bring you complete coverage of announcement on air, online and on your mobile device. 

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