Flint’s water testing for lead continues to test below action levels

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 2:55 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) – The city of Flint has been compliant with lead standards for six consecutive years, according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

Since July 2016, the city of Flint’s water system has tested below action levels for both lead and copper during 13 consecutive monitoring periods, EGLE said.

The latest six-month monitoring period, from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2022, resulted in a 90th percentile calculation for the samples collected of 9 ppb for lead. The 90th percentile calculation of 9 ppb means 90 percent of the test results used in the calculation came in at or below 9 ppb. This includes Michigan’s stricter than federal requirement that a fifth liter sample be collected to better reflect the impact of lead service lines.

The latest testing result is lower than the previous six-month period result of 10 ppb for lead and remains lower than the federal action level, which is 15 ppb.

Test results from 35 residences, tier one, and 32 commercial properties, tier two, served by lead service lines showed six samples above the federal action level of 15 ppb, EGLE said.

Testing revealed four of the six results were collected from tier two sites, where low water use patterns and aging interior plumbing continue to be contributing factors to lead levels, EGLE said.

Of the six elevated results, five of them were attributable to first liter samples, which reflect the presence of lead in fixtures and adjoining plumbing.

Tier two sites make up a growing portion of Flint’s water sampling pool as more than 95 percent of residential sites have had their lead service lines replaced. If the 35 residential sites had only been used in the calculation, the result would have been 3 ppb.

All sites were notified of their results and actions were taken to reduce exposure, EGLE said.

Overall, the results are consistent with data from recent monitoring periods and indicate the city’s corrosion control program is effective, EGLE said.

“These results reflect our continued work to restore our water system and restore trust through adherence to state and federal guidelines,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said.

“The data shows that Flint’s investment of roughly $100 million in new copper service lines and millions of dollars in additional water infrastructure have clearly improved water quality for city residents,” said Eric Oswald, director of EGLE’s Drinking Water and Environment Health Division.

Flint’s testing results can be found by visiting the city’s website.

Strategies to reduce lead exposures in homes, additional information about Michigan’s new testing requirements, and results state-wide can be found at Mi Lead Safe’s website.

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