First water tests at Flint schools shows 97 percent in safe level

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FLINT (WJRT) (2/13/2018) - The first round of water tests taken inside Flint Community Schools buildings shows a vast majority have safe levels of lead or none at all.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality began testing Jan. 20 and wrapped up last week. Samples were taken from dozens of faucets and drinking fountains in 13 schools.

Of the 705 samples taken:

-- 97.2 percent had lead levels below the federal action level of 15 parts per billion.
-- 96.2 percent had lead levels at or below 10 parts per billion.
-- 92.6 percent had lead levels at or below the bottled water standard of 5 parts per billion.
-- 66.7 percent had no detectable lead levels.

“It’s encouraging to see that most of the water sample results are below the federal action level for lead," Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said. "However, we cannot ignore that some of the sites tested show elevated lead levels, which leads us to believe there is still more work that needs to be done to make sure our kids are safe and not exposed to lead."

Faucets and drinking fountains in Flint Community Schools facilities have been shut off from consumption for more than two years after the water crisis began.

The district's staff and students are continuing to consume only bottled water supplied Nestle, Pepsi and other beverage makers.

Weaver said a series of community meetings will be convened soon for experts on the City of Flint Technical Advisory Council to educate parents, teachers and community members about what the test results mean.

"We want residents to be involved and be part of the process as we work to resolve this issue," Weaver said. "We should all be doing what we can to make sure our children are safe."

See "Related Links" on the right side of this story for a link to water test results from nine of 13 Flint schools. Results from the remaining four buildings are being added soon.

Water testing in 65 charter and parochial schools, day care facilities and senior citizen care centers in Flint took place in November and December.

Water samples collected from those locations were unfiltered where it was possible to bypass the filter. Those results were even better than what experts found in the public schools:

-- Nearly 99 percent of the samples collected tested at or below the 15 parts per billion federal action level for lead.
-- 95 percent met the bottled water standard of 5 parts per billion
-- Lead was not detected in 81 percent of the samples collected.

State experts are working on action plans with any facilities that exceeded federal guidelines for lead in the water.

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