Expert declares qualified end to water crisis in Flint - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Expert declares qualified end to water crisis in Flint

Marc Edwards (Source: Virginia Tech) Marc Edwards (Source: Virginia Tech)

An expert who two years ago warned about dangerous lead levels in Flint, Michigan's drinking water has declared a qualified end to the crisis.

Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards said Friday that, after several rounds of testing, lead levels are back to normal -- for a city with old lead pipes.

“Even though Flint is meeting the Lead and Copper Rule, residents should still strongly consider strategies to reduce lead exposure, including use of filters or bottled water,” said Edwards.

He recommends the continued use of filters and warns of a "crisis of confidence" among residents who blame the government for the water problems.

"If you define the end of the water crisis as having water quality parameters back in the range considered normal for other cities with old lead pipes, the answer is yes," Edwards said when a reporter asked if the Flint crisis is over. "Obviously there is still a crisis of confidence among Flint residents that’s not going to be restored anytime soon that’s beyond the reach of science to solve, but it can only be addressed by years of trustworthy behavior by government agencies who unfortunately lost that trust deservedly in the first place."

Edwards' team has collected samples from 138 Flint homes, with the fifth and likely final round last month.

Flint's water was tainted with the toxin for at least 18 months, as the city tapped the Flint River but didn't treat the water to reduce corrosion. As a result, lead leached from old pipes and fixtures.

Additionally, William Rhoades, a civil and environmental engineering post-doctoral member of the team found that levels of Legionella and associated diseases have steadily improved, dropping back to levels before the Flint water crisis.

Indicating that Flint has a low or comparable risk of the bacteria in comparison to other places in the United States.

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