Flint, MI—The most recent water testing report from the State of Michigan: Taking Action on Flint Water website shows five Flint properties had high levels of lead in their testing samples. 

According to the water sampling report published on Aug. 26, the properties with high lead levels were three residences, one law office, and a church.

The city’s Director of Communications Melissa Brown said that “a reason for a location with high lead levels can be nonwater use.” When asked if the locations were occupied or not, Brown said they were “a mix of both.”

Each of the locations were tested in July and August. 

In the test report, the properties were highlighted in red because they had lead values exceeding 15 ppb and/or copper results exceeding 1,300.

The property at 718 Beach St., the law office, had 53 ppb of lead in a one liter one bottle kit. 

One residence in the 230o block of Monteith Street had two bottle kits done. The samples had 85 ppb in a 750 mL bottle, and 64 ppb in a one liter bottle. 

Anther property in the 2700 block of Brownell Boulevard had two tests done, one showing 122 ppb in a one liter bottle, and the other showing 293 ppb in a one liter bottle. 

In the 1000 block of South Grand Traverse, another residence also had two tests done, with one showing 338 ppb in a one liter bottle, and the other showing 513 ppb in a one liter bottle. 

The church, located at 1669 N Chevrolet, had the highest lead levels of the five locations, as well as high copper levels. The test for lead found 3,492 ppb in a one liter bottle. The test for copper found 5,250 ppb in a one liter bottle. 

During a city council meeting on Aug. 23, the city’s Director of the Department of Public Works Michael Brown told the council that these locations had levels “a lot higher than anywhere else…in the city.” 

He said he believed the properties with the highest lead levels “were from locations that had no water running through the pipes for a period of time.” Brown said he was told the location with the highest level had gone six months without running the water, and that for another location, nobody had been using the water in the building for about two months. 

When testing shows high lead levels at a location, Public Health Navigators return to the location with a copy of the results to go over with the property owner. They explain the results as well as ways to reduce their exposure, “such as running all faucets with cold water for five minutes, aerator cleaning, and using a filter,” according to Melissa Brown. 

Property owners are instructed to run water for five minutes a day for one week, and at the end of the week, the Public Health Navigators offer to return with another test kit to get new water samples. The owner doesn’t have to do this is they don’t want to, Brown said. 

If the second test comes back and there are still high levels of lead, Brown said it could be “an issue with fixture and premise plumbing.” If that’s the case, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will come to the location to do further sampling. 

DPW Director Brown said at the council meeting that as far as he knew, the locations had been re-tested and came back much lower, below the 15 ppb threshold. Those test results have not yet been posted.

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...