State to begin water testing in Flint schools for lead
The Friday, Jan. 19, announcement comes less than a month after the MDEQ said Flint school officials wouldn’t allow it to flush lines or test water inside any of its 13 buildings.
"As has been shared with the state of Michigan, Flint Community Schools will not allow students to drink water from the tap in the schools until … the Board of Education, its superintendent and the health and medical professionals of this great city are satisfied with the safety of the water."
"We are pleased to move forward in the development of a long-term plan for the for the future of water at Flint Community Schools, in conjunction with the state, the city of Flint and the medical community," Superintendent Bilal Tawwab said in a statement.
Officials said the long-term plan for the district’s water will: – outline detailed water monitoring and maintenance protocols and schedules – provide guidance on the flushing of pipes and filter replacement and maintenance as deemed necessary given the condition of the water system – technical assistance and both regulatory and independent oversight to ensure the protocols are sustained by associated state, local and school system entities Bottled water will continue to be used at the schools in the immediate future, despite test results from 63 other schools, daycare and elder care facilities in the city that recently showed 98.5 percent of samples collected were below the federal threshold for lead.
The state Department of Environmental Quality previously said Flint school officials wouldn’t allow it to flush lines or test water inside any of its 13 buildings.
The state has already warned that it could end purchases of bottled water for distribution sites in Flint if testing in the last half of 2017 continues well below the federal lead threshold of 15 parts per billion.
A water subcommittee also is being formed to include representatives from Flint schools, state and city officials, the medical community and independent water experts.
The $1 million pilot program will be funded by the Michigan Department of Education and is designed to create a best practices tutorial for flushing and testing protocols for all Michigan schools.
"The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been and remains committed to working with Flint Community Schools and the medical community to conduct flushing and testing in the district’s buildings, and to develop an ongoing plan forward," said Keith Creagh, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and former interim director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
We are committed to support the city of Flint as it continues to provide quality water to its residents."