Crucial state review of Flint water likely after school testing ends this month
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says there is no timeline for making recommendations about Flint once that review is complete or what the recommendations might entail, but the reconsideration of funding for bottled water has been talked about for months by state officials.
Flint schools Superintent Bilal Tawwab issued a statement to MLive-The Flint Journal, saying the district "is eager to continue our work with the state, the mayor’s office, medical experts and Flint residents to analyze and continue water testing moving forward."
Broader Lead and Copper Rule testing has also shown city water within federal guidelines for lead for the last 18 months.
Rich Baird, senior advisor to Snyder, told Flint Schools Superintendent Bilal Tawwab in December that the state already had collected enough water data to make recommendations — even without water test data from the district.
"Given the testing that has been done at the other (non-public) schools, day care and elder care facilities, MDEQ believes there is sufficient data to move forward with recommendations in conjunction with the third 6-month round of testing under the federal (Lead and Copper Rule) when the results are available in January," Baird said in a Dec. 20 email to Tawwab.
"Until we get through (school testing) we don’t want any of this to go away.
Hiipakka asked three months ago for Tawwab’s help in setting up a flushing and testing program that could be a model for the rest of the state as soon as possible, but by the end of December, state officials said they still hadn’t been granted access to school buildings.
The district later reached a deal to allow for flushing and testing water in 13 buildings, something Mayor Karen Weaver said was necessary before discussions about the state ending support for bottled water could start.
Brown said the DEQ will consider FCS test results as well as water quality data from other schools, day care and elder care facilities, testing from across the city for the lead and copper levels, and the Confirming Lead Elimination After Replacement program, which tests homes where lead or galvanized water service lines have been replaced.
"The comprehensive data review will guide any decisions and/or recommendations to come," Brown said in an email to The Journal.