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Flint teens become water testers

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A pilot program is giving Flint teenagers the opportunity to learn new skills, while helping city residents still too scared to trust their drinking water is safe.

Recent tests have shown the quality of Flint’s tap water has improved since the city’s water crisis started in 2014. However, many residents don’t believe those tests results from the government.

But under a new program, more than a dozen Flint teenagers are going into homes and testing the water.

Michael Harris is with the Flint Development Center.  He sees this program as the beginning of something important.

“Out of this we should definitely become the water experts of the world.  I make no bones about that,” Harris says, referring to Flint’s water crisis. “These young people will be the future water warriors.”

Jill Ryan is the executive director of the group Fresh Water Future.  They are working with other groups to assist the teen water testing program. Ryan says the program is giving young people experience in a growing career field.

“The longer term goal is actually to help the community to be here as something that people trust and they trust it because it’s here in Flint from Flint,” says Ryan.

The long-term plan includes establishing a full time testing lab run by Flint teenagers.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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