Michigan officials say too soon to give all-clear on water

(AP) – Michigan officials say that water samples in Flint are “trending better,” but that it’s too soon to give the go-ahead to residents to resume drinking unfiltered water.

Residents have been using bottled water and filters because the improperly treated supply was tainted with lead from pipes leading to old homes.

State Department of Environmental Quality Interim Director Keith Creagh stressed Wednesday that the test results are not statistically valid because there’s no guarantee homeowner-provided samples are coming from homes at higher risk. Further testing continues.

Creagh says officials are studying whether the city’s pipes are being recoated with enough of a lining of phosphates to keep the lead from leaching.

The state is working to identify newer neighborhoods with no lead pipes, so those residents can potentially get the all-clear on their water sooner.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she has hired a Virginia Tech professor whose extensive testing helped bring the city’s lead-tainted water problems to light.

Weaver said at a news conference Wednesday that Marc Edwards will oversee all water testing done by the state and federal governments. She added he will be “fully independent,” report to her and get paid through private donations. She also touched on the issue of Flint residents’ water bills. Supplemental funding approved by the state House last week included $3 million to help residents pay their bills.

Gov. Rick Snyder says Edwards and Weaver are part of a 17-member group of medical experts selected to determine long-term solutions to fix Flint’s water system and help residents who have been exposed to lead.

Snyder also announced that the state would have an increased administrative presence in Flint and called it the beginning of a long-term effort.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services today reminded parents that it is okay to bathe in water from the Flint water system.

The state is aware of concerns related to skin issues, but there is no known scientific link connecting rashes to the change in water source.

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