BC-MI--Flint Water,1st Ld-Writethru/401
State urges water tests at Flint homes, businesses, schools
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The results of water tests at several hundred buildings in Flint indicate that drinking water at all homes, businesses and schools needs to be tested for possible lead contamination, state officials said.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said tests from nearly 400 homes and businesses as well as comprehensive results from Freeman Elementary School indicate problems with lead are localized to individual buildings or even individual faucets.
"The results from this data underline the need for water testing at all homes, businesses, schools and other buildings in Flint," George Krisztian, the DEQ's Flint Action Plan Coordinator, said in a statement Monday. "We want to see all families in Flint take advantage of free water testing from the state."
Flint switched from Detroit's water system last year to Flint River water in a cost-cutting move while under state emergency financial management. The Flint River was supposed to be an interim source until the city could join a new system getting water from Lake Huron.
But residents complained about the taste, smell and appearance of the water. Officials maintained the water met safety standards, but children were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood and it was determined that corrosive river water was drawing lead from aging pipes.
Flint has since switched back to water from Detroit's system. Last week, voters ousted Flint's mayor amid fallout over the city's drinking water problems. Newcomer Karen Weaver beat incumbent Dayne Walling, who led the city during the public health emergency and blamed state and federal agencies for the city's water problems.
Weaver was sworn in Monday, saying her election showed residents are "sick and tired of poison water" and she renewed her call on the federal government to declare the city a federal disaster area.
At Freeman Elementary, 31 faucets were tested. There was no lead exposure from 22 outlets, but nine came back with initially high results. When the faucets and fountains were operated for several minutes, lead levels fell significantly, in some cases to non-detectable levels, the state said.
The DEQ is suggesting that the faucets be flushed before use but on the long-term need to be replaced.
Meanwhile, parents in Flint can get their children tested for lead during an education program hosted by the school district Thursday at Brownell STEM Academy, The Flint Journal reported.
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