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A Sleepless Night Reveals Promising Results In Flint

Steve Carmody/Michigan Public Radio
Dr. Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech

The city’s water crisis has given many people in Flint sleepless nights.

Last week, the man who helped reveal the problem spent a sleepless night seeing if things are getting better. 

This story was produced by Michigan Public Radio.

In the wee small hours of the morning, Virginia Tech water expert Marc Edwards took and tested water samples at the Flint home of Lee Anne Walters. It was in Walters’ home that the extent of the city’s water crisis was first confirmed.

Edwards tested the water hourly to see how chlorine and bacteria levels changed during the hours when water generally flows slower through the system.

He says 3 a.m. usually is the time of day when water quality is at its lowest because little water is moving through the system.   

“There’s automated flushing that’s going on right near her house, unlike many cities there’s actually water moving through the system even at 3 a.m.,” a sleepy-looking Edwards said this morning.

He says a year ago tests showed no chlorine in the water. But Edwards says the new tests showed normal levels of chlorine.  

“The automated-flushing devices the state’s using and the EPA’s employed is really raising chlorine and getting all kinds of bacteria levels down, including those that eat up pipes,” said Edwards.

Despite the promising tests, Edwards says the system still has many problems that need to be fixed. 

He expects his team of Virginia Tech researchers will examine another round of tests of from Flint homes this fall. 

Recent tests have shown improvement, but the tap water in many Flint homes is still showing elevated levels of lead.