State of Michigan to Begin Series of Water Testing in Flint Community Schools

(FLINT, Mich. – January 19, 2018) – The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will begin a series of long-term water testing and flushing in Flint Community Schools on Saturday, January 20, 2018. The testing will take place as discussions continue amongst the state, the city of Flint, the City of Flint Tech Advisory Board, the medical community and Flint Community Schools to develop a long-term plan for testing in the school district’s buildings. The plan will also rely heavily on input from school staff, parents and students.

“We are pleased to move forward in the development of a long-term plan for the future of water at Flint Community Schools, in conjunction with the state, the city of Flint and the medical community,” said Superintendent Bilal Tawwab. “We remain firm in our expectation that rigorous testing be conducted to the satisfaction of the medical community. In the meantime, the district will continue to secure bottled water for our students until we have undoubted assurance the water from the tap is safe to drink.”

“I am glad all parties involved have been able to come together and agree on a plan for testing the water at Flint schools,” said Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. “I support Superintendent Tawwab and his desire to make sure this process is thorough, that it is done well and done right. We must do what is best for the health and well-being of our children. And I will continue to seek input from the medical community before any major changes are determined regarding water distribution in Flint.”

“The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been and remains committed to working with Flint Community Schools and the medical community to conduct flushing and testing in the district’s buildings, and to develop an ongoing plan forward,” said Keith Creagh, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and former interim director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. “Data from extensive testing of the Flint water distribution system shows that the city’s water quality is similar to other cities across the state and country. We are committed to support the city of Flint as it continues to provide quality water to its residents.”

The long-term plan for the district’s water will outline detailed water monitoring and maintenance protocols and schedules; guidance on flushing of pipes and filter replacement/maintenance as deemed necessary given the condition of the water system; technical assistance; and both regulatory and independent oversight to ensure such protocols are sustained by associated state, local and school system entities.

At the same time, a water subcommittee is being formed to include representatives from Flint Community Schools, the state of Michigan, the city of Flint, the medical community and independent water experts. The district has secured the continued donation of resources from The Water Coalition, which includes Walmart, PepsiCo, Nestle and Coca Cola, to supply bottled water for all Flint Community Schools until June 2018.

Additionally, Flint Community Schools will move forward with the creation of the model School Water Training (Testing, Monitoring, and Education) Program. The $1 million pilot program will be funded by the Michigan Department of Education, and is designed to create a best practices tutorial for flushing and testing protocols for all Michigan schools.