Flint group to re-file lawsuit over water concerns

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FLINT (WJRT) - (09/16/15) - A Mid-Michigan group wants all homes in the city of Flint to be equipped with special filters after results from a Virginia Tech study were made public.

Researchers from that university are concerned about high levels of lead found in their samplings.

The Coalition for Clean Water, which includes the Concerned Pastors for Social Action, said the state should pay for tens of thousands of certified lead filters. They believe it's the best option, short of going back to Detroit Water.

"We cannot wait another 16 months until the KWA is up and online and running," said Melissa Mays.

Mays is recharged in her fight over Flint water. The founder of the Coalition for Clean Water said she's fueled by research from Virginia Tech linking Flint River water to high levels of lead in home samplings.

"They're not going to get better unless we get non-corrosive water back in those pipes," Mays said.

Virginia Tech and the Coalition for Clean Water argue switching back to Lake Huron water is the best solution. While that demand sits idle, Mays wants the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to open its pocketbook.

"Since the MDEQ and the city of Flint put us in this situation and did not inform us, I think it's on them to provide National Science Foundation certified lead removing filters to protect the citizens," Mays said.

Home Depot in Burton said such water filters have been selling at a good pace ever since Flint's water worries came to light.

Howie Wilson, a plumbing specialist, said the average faucet mount filtration unit costs about $30. He said filters need to be changed every three months (based on usage). A new filter runs about $10.

"Read the labels," Wilson said. "Make sure it's certified."

Concerned Pastors for Social Action held a filter give away earlier this month after a secret donor paid for 1,500 systems. The group is working to secure more.

"But let me just be point blank with you," said Pastor Allen Overton. "There's about 77,000 people in the city of Flint. We're only putting a Band-Aid on a wound that's much bigger."

In the meantime, the Coalition for Clean Water says it plans to re-file a lawsuit related to Flint's water quality. A similar lawsuit was dismissed earlier this week, which called for the return to Detroit Water.

"We just need to remove the TTHM parts since now technically the city is in compliance (and) focus on the lead and copper like we have been," Mays said. " (We will) include the new evidence that professor Edwards has given us and also add some additional defendants, because the judge feels that there are more people at fault here."

The coalition claims the city isn't testing water properly and is skewing outcomes in order to produce favorable results for lead and copper levels.

"We'll be filing that lawsuit on next week again, adding MDEQ and EPA also in the lawsuit because they also have some responsibly. MDEQ has not overseen this entire project appropriately," Overton said.

Pastor Wallace Hill said there's no turning back on the promise they made to residents.

"The resolution is to try to get clean, fresh water for the people by any means necessary - not really concerned about the cost at this point, but the health of the people," Hill said.

Flint leaders maintain the city's water is meeting all state and federal regulations and is safe to drink. They added, testing is done according to approved standards.

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