Flint Mayor: Water Still Showing Lead Levels Beyond What Filters Can Remove

Illustration for article titled Flint Mayor: Water Still Showing Lead Levels Beyond What Filters Can Remove

After lead poisoned the drinking water in Flint, residents received filters they were told would make their tap water safe. Now, tests over the last 24 hours are showing that lead levels in some homes are still too high for a filter to handle.


At a press conference this evening, Mayor Karen Weaver delivered the statement alongside representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which administered the testing. She encouraged residents to have their water tested immediately before using filters.

Some filters, specifically gravity-fed ones certified by the National Sanitation Foundation, are able to remove reasonable amounts of lead from drinking water, up to about 150 parts per billion. What Flint is seeing, however, are some levels higher than 150 parts per billion—in other words, what can safely be removed by those filters. Some tests showed levels as high as 4000 parts per billion. It’s not every home, but it is enough homes to cause an alarm.

This means that the “reliable” water source from Lake Huron is now not safe anymore due to the way the Flint River water heavily corroded the city’s pipes. Test kits are now being distributed so residents can continue to monitor their water and know when it’s safe to go back to the tap—if it ever will be. The New York Times published a devastating story on how doctors are working to evaluate the damage done to children under age five.

Meanwhile, Congress has proposed $400 million in federal aid which could help replace the city’s lead pipes.


Brett Carlsen / Getty Images




As an engineer I’m having a hard time imagining a way to get this fixed fast enough for these people to continue living there... If the $400 million figure is real then just give everyone there $4 million and raze the place... Buuuuut that would be far too logical, instead we’ll spend the money fixing it over the next few years (while these people still struggle) and then once its fixed leave them in the relative poverty they are currently in. (obviously this is over simplified, but hey, it seems like a better idea than several years of repairs all while the people continue to face massive contamination)