FLINT, Mich., April 13 (UPI) — The tap water in Flint, Mich., is still unsafe to drink largely because residents aren’t allowing it to flow through and clear out the city’s pipes, a researcher said.
Virginia Tech professor and water quality expert Marc Edwards on Tuesday delivered his Flint Water Study’s second round of findings on the beleaguered city’s tap water.
“What we discovered was that many Flint residents are, not surprisingly, not using very much water,” he said. “The delivery of the cure, which is this clean water that needs to flow through the system, in some Flint homes, is simply not happening. The way to recovery is to get more water running through the system. Many people believe if they use less water if will be better. That is simply not true. The system is slowly improving. The more the residents use the water, the faster the system will heal.”
The team said the use of more water with additives would “re-scale” corroded pipes and prevent the pipes’ lead from being absorbed into the water.
Virginia Tech worked with city officials in 2015 to demonstrate Flint’s water was contaminated by lead after the city switched the water supply in 2014 from Detroit’s system to the Flint River. Residents now drink bottled water, but can use the tap water for bathing and other purposes.
Corroded pipes are slowly being replaced — so far 33 of the city’s 8,000 lead service lines. The most recent analysis indicates the lead level of Flint’s water is 23 parts per billion, an improvement over 29 parts per billion found in August 2015 but still above the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard of 15 parts per billion.