FLINT (WJRT) - (10/15/15) - Thousands of dollars have been shelled out to buy bottled water for Genesee County Jail inmates during the water emergency in Flint.
It turns out, the water at the jail showed trace amounts of lead according to testing done by an independent lab.
Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell told ABC12 News inmates have been drinking from the tap for several days following the testing.
When Pickell was notified about the water emergency in Flint, he thought of the hundreds of inmates in his care.
“I was forced, at that point, to buy bottled water and the expense was pretty great because we have over 600 inmates,” Pickell said.
It cost $4,800 for the bottled water that lasted five days.
They had to buy dried food for the inmates because they couldn’t use the water to cook.
That's why he had testing done by the Department of Environmental Quality.
Their results showed traces of lead in the water, except for one faucet that tested very high in the jail's medical room. Another test was run by an independent lab who found only traces in the medical room's faucet.
The Genesee County Health Department said that the original high reading by the DEQ might be a result of a faucet screen trapping lead particles.
That screen has been removed.
Pickell said as long as the lead doesn't exceed trace levels, they will continue to use tap water in the jail.
There are no plans to buy any more bottled water for inmates.