Michigan undertaking plan to determine if Flint water is safe to drink

FLINT, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has undertaken a five-part strategy to determine whether Flint's water, which has become contaminated with lead, is safe to drink.

See Full Article

The state said the plan to try to ensure that drinking water no longer is tainted with lead includes residential water testing, school testing, food service and restaurant provider testing, blood testing and overall testing of Flint's water distribution system.

Flint switched its water source from Detroit's water system to the Flint River in 2014 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 while it awaits the completion of a separate pipeline to Lake Huron this summer.

DEQ Interim Director Keith Creagh told the Detroit Free Press he hopes "to be able to say something about the general health of the system come mid-April."

Creagh said in a release that he met Monday with an official from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and that staff from both agencies discussed how to work together to make the best use of data being collected.

The two sides also discussed the DEQ's five-part strategy, Creagh said. The agencies have met regularly since early January.

"These conversations with the EPA are a critical part of our shared response to the emergency in Flint," Creagh said. "We know that moving forward will require all levels of government - along with partners in the business and non-profit communities and the community of Flint - to work together with the sense of urgency this crisis demands."

State officials say water samples from roughly 5,000 homes have been tested, and about 94 per cent have 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, which 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 late Sunday in a statement.

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 and will help verify its quality include Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech researcher who 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, including the DEQ's former top official, or have been suspended.

In a letter to more than 46,000 state employees Friday, Snyder 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, legislative liaison for the United Auto Workers Local 6000, the biggest state employee union, called Snyder's letter a "little disingenuous," saying workers often are dissuaded from "thinking outside the box" and speaking up, and have been disciplined for not closely following policy.

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 Monday delivering cases of water to residents.

The water comes from AQUAhydrate, a bottled water brand partly owned by Sean "Diddy" Combs and Mark Wahlberg that 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.


Latest Canada & World News

  • 'Life-altering consequences:' Edmonton busker jailed for assaulting man

    Canada News CBC News
    A judge has sentenced a busker to 18 months in jail for attacking a man he thought had swiped some of his change. The assault left Donny Crier, 41, a quadriplegic. Court heard Allen Dakota Cardinal was playing his guitar inside a light rail transit station in downtown Edmonton last April. Source
  • NATO trying to get better at predicting Russia's next move: Latvian commander

    World News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- While NATO is determined to improve its ability to predict the Kremlin's next move, a senior Latvian commander concedes that Russian President Vladimir Putin has managed to keep the military alliance guessing in recent years. Source
  • H.R. McMaster out as national security adviser, Trump taps John Bolton

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday picked as his new national security adviser John Bolton, a hawk who has advocated using military force against Iran and North Korea and has taken a hard line against Russia. Source
  • McMaster out, Bolton in as Trump's national security adviser

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump is replacing national security adviser H.R. McMaster with the former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, injecting a hawkish foreign policy voice into his administration ahead of key decisions on Iran and North Korea. Source
  • Steve Bannon blames Republican establishment for Roy Moore's defeat

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK - Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is blaming the Republican establishment for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore's defeat, saying GOP leaders pushed pedophilia accusations against him. Bannon says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was too quick to back away from Moore, who faced charges of sexually abusing underage girls. Source
  • Woman claims she wasn't drinking before crash — she was texting

    Canada News CBC News
    Call it the lesser-of-two-evils defence: a B.C. woman is fighting the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia's refusal to honour her insurance claim by arguing that she was texting, rather than drinking, before she crashed. As a result, a Kamloops provincial court judge hearing a pretrial application has ordered Angela Seeley to divulge both her weight, to help determine if she was impaired, and her cellphone records to the insurer. Source
  • Jamaican flight crew member charged with smuggling cocaine taped to his legs

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Federal authorities say a flight crew member arrived at New York's Kennedy Airport from Jamaica with four packages of cocaine taped to his legs. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Fly Jamaica Airways crew member Hugh Hall was arrested on Saturday and they seized about 9 pounds of cocaine, with a street value of about $160,000. Source
  • 16 northern Ontario First Nations being connected to power grid in $1.6B project

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A new agreement between Ontario First Nations, the federal government and the province will see 16 northern communities connected to the power grid. The $1.6 billion project will be completed in 2023 and will shift the communities from dependence on diesel fuel for power to the provincial electricity grid. Source
  • Bruce McArthur case prompts review of how Toronto police handled missing men

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- How Toronto police handled the cases of men missing from the city's gay village will undergo some form of external review in light of six murder charges laid against an alleged serial killer, the police oversight board decided on Thursday. Source
  • Russian embassy calls Trudeau's criticism of Putin 'confrontational'

    World News CBC News
    The Russian embassy is firing back at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for criticizing President Vladimir Putin at a news conference this week. But a leading expert on Russia and the Arctic is dismissing the dust-up as the result of a mistaken prime minister, and a junior Russian diplomat with an itchy Twitter finger. Source