Virginia Tech researchers teach students how to test water for l - WNEM TV 5

Virginia Tech researchers teach students how to test water for lead

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Virginia Tech researchers were back in Flint on Tuesday.

Residents hoped for new, low lead results as the researchers worked to teach some of Flint's middle schoolers how to test their own water at home. It was part of an effort to educate the city's next generation so something like this doesn't happen again.

"I learned that come of the water in our community is still affected by lead poisoning," said Shaniya Walker, student at North Ridge Academy in Flint.

The 11-year-old has gone a quarter of her life without being able to drink clean water out of the tap at her house or school.

"This should of been a big red flag for the city to know something was wrong with the water," said Christina Devine, Virginia Tech researcher.

She wants to make sure history doesn't repeat itself.

"We just want them to be aware of what went wrong and how the system needs to change. And what can be done to prevent something like this from happening again," Devine said.

She and six other scientists from Virginia Tech made their way to Shaniya's school on Tuesday to talk to students about the science behind the reason they can't drink their water.

It was a team of scientists from Virginia Tech that sounded the alarm on the Flint water crisis in the first place more than two years ago.

The researchers taught the students how to correctly collect water samples at their homes so they can get it tested themselves.

"Like how long you need to sample. How many samples you need to take for each home. So we will run through the general process," Devine said.

Assistant Principal Jessie Wilson said many students that go to his school are still coping with challenges because of the water crisis and he said knowledge is power.

"Basically this is a life long lesson. Not only on how to stay safe, but to recognize lead and the issues it might cause in the future," Wilson said.

As for Devine, she said she hopes more schools teach children about the science of safe water.

"We just want to educate these kids and bring awareness to the issue," Devine said.

A teacher at North Ridge Academy said her family's lives were turned upside down by the water crisis and she hopes this leads to positive change.

"Basically, I'm going to get bottles of water from water distribution centers. I'm doing that every other week," Jessica Perkins said. "It's inconvenience. It really is. I'm still like I can't trust the water. Like even taking a shower, is that still safe."

She also wonders what kind of long-term effects this will have on her children, like her 11-year-old son Isaiah. He said tainted water has become a new normal.

"Well, I'm kind of uncertain because once you start to get used to it, it becomes not as big of a deal," Isaiah Smith said.

Perkins said for the sake of her children and the community trust can be restored and the water will soon be OK to use without worry.

"Hopefully, they will fix the issue. Ya know, and get to all the homes in the city that has the lead piping," Perkins said.

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