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Tests show contaminant levels down in Flint water

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint officials say levels of a potentially harmful chemical in the city's drinking water are now within acceptable limits. 

Flint residents got a shock earlier this year when they learned their tap water had unacceptably high levels of total trihalomethane, a byproduct of chlorine. The city used a large amount to chlorine last summer to treat the city’s water.

Flint residents were further upset after learning the TTHM levels had been unacceptably high for months. 

The latest tests show TTHM back under limits considered acceptable. 

All eight testing sites showed levels of TTHM ranging between 14.9 and 28.5 micrograms per liter.  That’s well below the maximum contamination level of 80. 

Flint officials say the tests should help rebuild confidence in the safety of the city’s tap water.   

“Flint’s water supply is meeting all safety guidelines set forth by the EPA,” said DPW Director Howard Croft. “Today’s findings by the MDEQ reinforce the progress we have made, and should help rebuild confidence in the safety of Flint’s drinking water.”

Many Flint residents stopped drinking their tap water months ago.  

Next month, the city of Flint is scheduled to receive a report from a consultant on how best to treat water from the Flint River. Overuse of chemicals is blamed for problems with the water’s smell, taste and appearance. 

The city has been getting its water directly from the Flint River since last April. 

Many Flint residents want the city to return to getting its water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. But the city’s emergency manager and others say that would be too expensive. 

Eventually, the city of Flint will get its tap water from Lake Huron. But the pipeline being built to deliver the water is not expected to be complete until 2016.  

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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