Although Flint, MI water quality improving, residents still have doubts

Published: May. 31, 2017 at 6:46 PM EDT
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The water crisis in Flint, Michigan is ongoing even though some say it's improving.

Regulators now say lead in Flint's water is below federal standards. They recommend people to use a filter or drink bottled water out of an abundance of caution.

They're confident the city's water meets federal standards and recent research findings from Virginia Tech back up that claim. Still, some people don't trust the regulators and are skeptical.

"A portion of the population is suffering from PTSD they literally don't know who to trust," said Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor.

Nearly three years after Edwards and his team from Virginia Tech found high levels of lead and bacteria in water, some people are still afraid to drink what comes out of their faucets. Science proves otherwise.

"All the testing indicates the water is as good or better than other cities," Edwards said.

The problem could plague the city for many more years as old pipes are replaced. People there are also paying some of the highest water rates in the United States.

It all started when the city switched its main water source from Detroit to the Flint River. Now, Edwards and his team are continuing to do work in Flint, helping with perceptions of the water, and working on water problems throughout the U.S.

"A lot of science communication, lots of education efforts, lots of scientific testing to kind of continue to give data to people and to other agencies to show them that the water quality is a lot better," said Siddhartha “Sid” Roy, the Flint Water Study Team student leader.

The team went to Flint for Spring Break and shared data with more than a 1,000 students, telling them they're not victims of this crisis. Millions of people will take a deeper look into their research Tuesday night.

The PBS program NOVA is featuring Edwards, his team and the science behind this water contamination.

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