Officials: Flint Water Is Safe, Don't Drink It

It could be years before dangerous lead pipes are replaced
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2017 5:03 AM CST
Officials: Flint Water Is Safe, Don't Drink It
The Flint Water Plant water tower is seen in Flint, Mich. in March 2016.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

The good news: Flint's water is now safe to drink. The bad news: You still shouldn't drink it. That was the message from Michigan officials Tuesday after the Department of Environmental Quality announced lead levels in Flint's water have fallen below the federal limit of 15 parts per billion, based on tests from homes with lead-tainted pipes or service lines conducted over six months. However, those lines still pose issues, officials say, advising residents to continue to use water filters or consume bottled water. Mayor Karen Weaver tells the New York Times there are still 20,000 lead-tainted pipes in Flint, with 6,000 expected to be removed by the end of the year. It could take three years for all pipes to be replaced, reports MLive.

"Once those lead pipes are replaced … then hopefully the people of Flint will regain the trust that has been shattered in their drinking water," a pediatrician who helped expose the water crisis tells the Washington Post, describing federal lead limits as "weak." For now, "it is nowhere near the end of the story." Under a judge’s order, officials are required to check that Flint residents have water filters properly installed. A bottled water delivery is also to be set up for those without filters, though lawyers for the state say that would require a "massive logistical" effort. Free bottled water and filters are also available at spots throughout Flint, which has now gone more than 1,000 days without safe water, reports the Detroit Free Press. (More Flint water crisis stories.)

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