Virginia Tech researchers announce updates on Flint water quality studies

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FLINT, Mich. – Four civil and environmental engineering professors held a news conference Tuesday morning to announce research findings on Flint’s water quality.

Professor Marc Edwards, leader of the Virginia Tech Flint Water Study team who has been working with Flint residents since April 2015, was joined by David Reckhow, professor at the University of Massachusetts, and Shawn McElmurry, associate professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, to discuss their independent data. 

According to Edwards, preliminary data looking at the effects of a water flushing program are encouraging.  Residents have been told to flush out their pipes once a day to help rid the system of lead.

The state of Michigan is paying all Flint water bills this month and hopes that encourages people to take part in the flushing.  Edwards says the program appears to have helped the situation, but they won’t know for sure until another round of city-wide sampling.

The EPA has agreed to fund sampling in early July.  Results will be available in early August to help judge if the water is finally meeting federal standards for lead in drinking water.

During the news conference, researchers also addressed claims that have been made by some groups that Flint water has such high levels of chloroform and other DBPS that Flint water is currently unsafe for bathing or showering.

Edwards has contested these claims.  Researchers presented data showing the preliminary sampling of water, with Lake Huron as a source water and purchased from Detroit, meets all federal standards for chloroform, disinfection by-products (DBPs) and total trihalomethanes (TTHMs). 

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