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.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Former child refugee set free as he fights deportation to Somalia

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Former Somali child refugee Abdoul Abdi has been released from custody as he continues his fight against deportation to a country he has no connection to. Benjamin Perryman, Abdi's lawyer, says he was released Wednesday morning from the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ont. Source
  • Gay couple ordered wedding programs, but received 'hateful' flyers instead: suit

    World News CTV News
    BOSTON -- Stephen Heasley and Andrew Borg were excited to see the wedding programs they ordered for their big day. But when the package arrived, the gay couple was horrified to instead find religious pamphlets with messages about temptation and sin, according to a federal lawsuit against printing company Vistaprint. Source
  • Solitary confinement in Canadian prisons ruled unconstitutional by B.C. court

    Canada News CBC News
    A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled that the practice of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons is unconstitutional. In a ruling released Wednesday, Justice Peter Leask found that the laws surrounding segregation in prison are invalid, because they breach Sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Source
  • 'Alarmingly premature' return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar worries aid groups

    World News CBC News
    Welcome to The National Today, which takes a closer look at what's happening around some of the day's most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday. Source
  • London Zoo names okapi 'Meghan' to celebrate royal wedding

    World News CTV News
    London Zoo has honoured Prince Harry's fiancee by naming its newborn okapi after her. The zoo said Wednesday the animal born in early December was named Meghan to celebrate the upcoming wedding of Harry and American actress Meghan Markle. Source
  • 2 children seized after deadly drug allegedly found in Edmonton home

    Canada News CTV News
    Edmonton police have arrested the parents of an infant and a toddler after more than 100 fentanyl pills and two handguns were allegedly discovered in their home. The parents, who are both adults, are facing multiple drug, firearm and child endangerment charges after a search of their southwest-area residence earlier this week. Source
  • Republican senator blasts Trump's press attacks, recalls rhetoric of Stalin

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump's use of the terms "fake news" and "enemy of the people" is "shameful" and reminiscent of words infamously used by Russian dictator Josef Stalin to describe his enemies, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said Wednesday. Source
  • After untrue hijab assault, still important to denounce hate crimes: Wynne

    Canada News CTV News
    BARRIE, Ont. -- Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is defending her comments against hate crime following an alleged attack on an 11-year-old Toronto girl wearing a hijab that later turned out to be untrue. The Grade 6 student told school officials -- and the media at a news conference -- last Friday that a man approached her from behind and cut her hijab. Source
  • Global Affairs investigating report of Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA - Global Affairs Canada says it's aware of reports that two Canadian citizens have been kidnapped in Nigeria. Spokesman John Babcock says consular officials in Nigeria are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information. Source
  • Body switched, accidentally cremated at N.S. funeral home, family says

    Canada News CTV News
    BERWICK, N.S. - A Nova Scotia regulator is investigating a bizarre mix-up at a funeral home that provided two wrong bodies to a grieving family before realizing their loved one had accidentally been cremated. Adam Tipert of the Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors says they are looking into how the Serenity Funeral Home in Berwick handled the remains of 65-year-old Sandra Bennett, who died at home on Dec. Source