State: Flint school district not allowing water testing

Posted at 4:17 PM, Dec 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-28 16:17:11-05

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Michigan environmental officials say Flint’s main school district hasn’t allowed the state to flush the lines or test the water in its buildings.

Flint Community Schools officials declined to comment about the issue, The Flint Journal reported . Schools and child care centers aren’t required to have water tested for lead unless they operate their own water systems.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is currently in talks with the superintendent about gaining access to the school buildings, according to Tiffany Brown, a spokeswoman for the department.

“State officials have met with the superintendent, requested access to the schools, and stand ready to conduct the testing once granted permission,” she said.

The department began testing water last month at Flint’s charter and parochial schools, day care centers and elderly care facilities. It found that 98.5 percent of samples from the more than 60 buildings tested fell below the federal lead threshold.

Water tests at Flint school buildings in 2015 found faucets and drinking fountains in multiple buildings with toxic lead levels. The elevated lead levels were caused by old plumbing and lead solder in faucets and drinking fountains reacting with corrosive water from the city, state officials said.

Flint Community Schools serves about 4,500 students. School officials haven’t disclosed plans to fix the water supply.

Flint schools are currently receiving bottled water through donations from Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo. The state has paid for bottled water to be distributed at sites across the city, but funding may cease next month because of decreasing lead levels found during the recent water tests.

Carman-Ainsworth Community School District and Swartz Creek Community School District also serve parts of Flint.