Flint, MI– In its sixth year of compliance for lead in drinking water, Flint’s latest water testing results show higher levels of lead, but still below the federal action level. 

In accordance with Lead and Copper Rule standards set by The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, municipalities must monitor lead service lines, and ensure lead concentration levels are below 15 parts per billion. 

In Flint’s latest round of monitoring, 90% of the collected water samples came at or below 7ppb for lead. This is more than double the lead levels from the previous round of testing, which resulted in samples at or below 3 ppb.

According to EGLE, this change is due to an increase of non-residential sites being tested. This time around, there were 71 samples that met the LCR validation criteria, 40 of which were homes and apartments, and 31 of which were businesses including one church. 

This was the largest number of non-residential sites used so far for sampling. According to the press release form EGLE, if only residential sites (Tier 1) had been used, “the 90th percentile result would have been 5 ppb.”

If only non-residential sites (Tier 2) had been used, the result would have been 13 ppb, which doesn’t meet the federal action level now, but would in 2025 when the LCR lowers the action level to 12 ppb. 

The highest lead level recorded from this sample was 3,492 ppb from a church that “had been closed since the start of the pandemic.”

“The data we are now seeing from the Tier 2 sites is also an important reminder to business owners to flush their lines after extended periods of stagnation, which may have been caused by pandemic-related closures,” said Eric Oswald, director of EGLE’s Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division. 

According to a press release from EGLE, “these results further underscore the need for active water usage to maintain water quality.” 

Flint’s testing results can be found by visiting https://www.michigan.gov/flintwater/. Additional information about Michigan’s new testing requirements and results state-wide can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/mileadsafe/.

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...