Tracking reduction of water lead levels in two homes during the Flint Federal Emergency.

By: Mantha, A.Tang, M.Pieper, K. J.; et al.

Water Research X  Volume: ‏ 7   Pages: ‏ 100047   Published: ‏ 2020

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A Federal Emergency was declared in Flint, MI, on January 16,2016, 18-months after a switch to Flint River source water without phosphate corrosion control. Remedial actions to resolve the corresponding lead in water crisis included reconnection to the original Lake Huron source water with orthophosphate, implementing enhanced corrosion control by dosing extra orthophosphate, a “Flush for Flint” program to help clean out loose leaded sediment from service lines and premise plumbing, and eventually lead service line replacement. Independent sampling over a period of 37 months (January 2016-February 2019) was conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia Tech to evaluate possible human exposure via normal flow (~2-3 L/min) sampling at the cold kitchen tap, and to examine the status of loose deposits from the service line and the premise plumbing via high-velocity flushing (~12-13 L/min) from the hose bib. The sampling results indicated that high lead in water persisted for more than a year in two Flint homes due to a large reservoir of lead deposits. The effects of a large reservoir of loose lead deposits persisted until the lead service line was completely removed in these two anomalous homes. As water conservation efforts are implemented in many areas of the country, problems with mobile lead reservoirs in service lines are likely to pose a human health risk. All rights reserved, Elsevier.

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