Michigan is testing Flint's water Joseph Assignment Volunteers Pack Water for Flint, Michigan. (PRNewsFoto/Joseph Assignment Global/AP Photo/Molly Riley)
Michigan is testing Flint's water
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The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has undertaken a five-part strategy. It wants to determine whether the city of Flint's water is safe to drink.  The water has become contaminated with lead.
 
The state said the plan to try to ensure that drinking water is no longer tainted with lead includes a lot of testing.  Residential water, water in schools, food service and restaurant provider testing, blood testing and overall testing of Flint's water distribution system are included in the plan.
 
Flint switched its water source from Detroit's water system to the Flint River in 2014. That was to save money while under state financial management. The river water was not treated properly and lead from pipes leached into Flint homes. The city returned to Detroit's system in October.  Now it awaits the completion of a separate pipeline to Lake Huron this summer.
 
State officials say water samples from roughly 5,000 homes have been tested.  About 94 percent are below the "actionable level" of 15 parts per billion for lead. Still, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder urged all residents to submit a free water test kit.  It can be picked up and returned to designated Flint fire stations.
 
The DEQ said it is working with the state Department of Health and Human Services to make sure residents with high blood-lead levels get their water tested. Those homes are provided additional services in an effort to minimize lead exposure, the state said.
 
"We want to ensure that all homes are getting the proper immediate attention and the home water tests will help in that process," Snyder said.
 
Flint residents coping with lead contamination will be cleared to drink unfiltered water again only when outside experts determine it is safe. Those who are evaluating the water include Marc Edwards. He is a Virginia Tech researcher.  He helped expose the lead problem and is providing independent guidance to the city and state.
 
Snyder has accepted responsibility for the emergency while also blaming state and federal environmental regulators. Some have resigned.  One was the DEQ's former top official. Others have been suspended.
 
Snyder sent a letter to more than 46,000 state employees. He said "what happened in Flint can never be allowed to happen again anywhere in our state." He said he wants a culture where workers' "input is valued." He also thanked workers for volunteering in Flint in recent weeks.
 
Ray Holman is the legislative liaison for the United Auto Workers Local 6000.  It is the biggest state employee union.  Holman called Snyder's letter a "little disingenuous." He said workers often are dissuaded from "thinking outside the box" and speaking up.  Some have been disciplined for not closely following policy, he said.
 
Meanwhile, music mogul Russell Simmons has joined many well-known entrepreneurs, artists and actors who have visited the city or pledged their support. He went door-to-door delivering cases of water to residents.
 
The water comes from AQUAhydrate. It is a bottled water brand partly owned by Sean "Diddy" Combs and Mark Wahlberg.  The brand has pledged to donate 1 million bottles to the city. The RushCard prepaid debit card system, of which Simmons is a founder, was part of the relief effort.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Explain how lead got into homes.
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (240)
  • brianag-6-bar
    2/05/2016 - 11:01 a.m.

    The lead got into the homes from detroits water system. After about 94% of the homes being tested. This is how it turned out "Flint residents coping with lead contamination will be cleared to drink unfiltered water again only when outside experts determine it is safe." I chose this article because I have heard a lot about it during social studies.

  • erikal-pel
    2/05/2016 - 11:22 a.m.

    Through the water pipes and the water that had not been treated properly.

  • joshw-pel
    2/05/2016 - 11:24 a.m.

    The water was not treated properly and lead leaked from the pipes into it.

  • ashleeb-pel
    2/05/2016 - 11:28 a.m.

    Lead got into homes because Flint switched its water source to the Flint River and the water was not treated properly.

  • davidc-dal
    2/05/2016 - 11:34 a.m.

    I feel sad for the people in Michigan :(
    they dont have any good water there people living in Michigan with bad water who knows what would happen

  • michaelc2-dal
    2/05/2016 - 11:34 a.m.

    Wow! I really feel bad for the people of Flint,Michigan.
    Hopefully they will get healthier water. And I hope this will never happen ever AGAIN!!

  • angelaf-pel
    2/05/2016 - 11:38 a.m.

    They had switched their water system to the Flint River, which was not treated properly, allowing lead to get into homes.

  • nikolep-pel
    2/05/2016 - 11:38 a.m.

    When they switched to the Flint river, the water was not treated properly. This cause pipes to leak which in turn caused lead to get into homes.

  • jordana-dal
    2/05/2016 - 11:39 a.m.

    A big problem in Michigan right now is that they don't have clean water down there and there people are getting sick. Also they cant take showers.

    Something else is that they cant even drink regular water anymore cause it can hurt there people.

    How this all started is by this teenager she was drinking some of the water.After that she really had changed and cause she was getting A's and every thing and her grandma was worried cause she was doing things she would never ever do. So she took her to the doctor and the doctor sad she had lead and that is how it all started .

    • michaelc2-dal
      2/05/2016 - 11:44 a.m.

      Yeah. that is really sad. :[

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