High Lead Levels Recorded in Flint Drinking Water This Year

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By Rachel Leven

Aug. 22 — The water crisis in Flint, Mich., isn't over, city sampling data released Aug. 22 shows.

High levels of lead were recorded in the drinking water in some areas of Flint as recently as the first half of 2016, the data shows. Tap water sampling data from January to June shows certain “high risk” areas in Flint had a concentration of lead of 20 parts per billion, which is higher than the federal action level of 15 ppb, the city said.

The water system overall has improved from when the drinking water crisis came to light, JoLisa McDay, the Flint interim utilities administrator, said in a statement, but she urged residents to continue drinking bottled or filtered water. Flint residents have used filters for their water for months.

The announcement about the data comes days after the federal state of emergency for the city ended for the water crisis, stemming from the city's switch to the Flint River as its water source in 2014. Lead exposure is known to lower IQ in children and to affect adults with existing kidney and high blood pressure problems, according to the city's handout for Flint residents.

The city of 100,000 people was exposed to high levels of lead in drinking water from an inappropriately executed water source switch to the Flint River in 2014. The city's water supply was reverted to Detroit's water system last October.

The city is in the process of optimizing corrosion control treatment to stop lead from leaching into the water. It also is replacing lead service lines in the city, with 33 lines already replaced and 200 to 250 lead pipes set to be replaced in the next phase of the service line replacement program.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rachel Leven in Washington at rleven@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

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