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In this series, Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith looks at how the Flint water crisis has affected, or could affect, other water systems in Michigan - especially those with lead water service lines. It also considers how potential changes to lead in water rules at the federal, and especially the state level, will impact water systems. Scroll below to see the entire series of reports.

Flint informs residents of a new, technical violation of drinking water regulations

Lead service line
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Keri Webber is sending this chunk of her lead service line to Virginia Tech.

The City of Flint is notifying its residents about a new drinking water violation. In the big scheme of things, this drinking water violation isn't major. But because of the Flint Water Crisis, it’s getting noticed by residents.

Since the crisis, state regulators have kept a really close eye on Flint’s water system. Flint has to collect water samples more frequently than most Michigan cities and has a more vigorous process of verifying that the homes it’s testing actually have lead water pipes.

But the city is also at the tail end of the process of replacing all of its lead service lines. A city spokeswoman says Flint has replaced 9,500 lead service lines so far. That means there are fewer homes that meet the testing criteria.

Flint had until New Year’s Eve to find 60 homes with lead water lines to collect samples from. State regulators extended that deadline to mid-February, at the city’s request.

City workers were just 11 homes short of that target during the last sampling round. While issuing the violation, state regulators still applauded the city’s effort.

“EGLE recognizes the City put forth a significant effort, despite an administration change near the end of the monitoring period, to obtain the requisite samples and applauds Mayor Neeley's door-to-door efforts to get resident participation,” Eric Oswald, Director of the Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division, wrote the city.

These samples help determine whether Flint is still meeting federal standards for lead in drinking water. The city’s lead levels have remained below the federal limit for lead in drinking water for some time.

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Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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