99.4 Percent of Flint Homes Tested Well Below Federal Action Level After Service Line Replacement

Contact: Tiffany Brown, brownt22@michigan.gov, 517-284-6716
Agency: Environmental Quality

Flint system as a whole continues to stabilize, testing well below federal standards for 14 months

October 24, 2017

LANSING, MICH.  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) today announced that the fifth round of CLEAR (Confirming Lead Elimination After Replacement) testing shows 99.4 percent of homes tested well below federal requirements after service line replacement was completed.

The CLEAR program began in April 2017 and was designed to collect baseline data on homes prior to service line replacement and then to conduct monthly testing for six months after service lines were replaced to monitor lead levels.

Lead 90th Percentile for CLEAR Rounds (PPB)Of the 170 CLEAR samples taken, 169 (99.4 percent) showed lead levels below the federal Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) action level of 15 parts per billion (PPB). The 90th percentile value was 2 PPB, meaning that 90 percent of the samples taken tested at 2 PPB or less*.  The 90th percentile value in the first round of CLEAR testing (prior to service line replacement) was 6 PPB. 

“This CLEAR data is reassuring because it’s in line with 14 months of testing that shows Flint’s water is well below federal action levels and that the system continues to stabilize,” said Keith Creagh, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and former interim director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality who remains the principal on Flint water. "The service line replacement program is an important component of the continued improvements to the Flint water system.”

Of the homes tested, 71.8 percent of the samples had results of “not detected” meaning that the level of lead in those samples was less than 1 PPB. This compares to 54.5 percent of the samples in the initial round of CLEAR testing prior to service line replacement.  

Service lines have been replaced at over 5,100 residences, to date.

The CLEAR study is meant to provide information on the impact that physical disruptions have on lead levels in homes where service lines are replaced. The data from this study has national repercussions as water systems across the country attempt to develop strategies for lead service line replacement.

While data supports that the use of water filters becomes a matter of personal choice after service line replacement, out an abundance of caution, residents are reminded to use filters for six months after service lines are replaced to ensure protection against possible particulate releases due to physical disruptions caused during the service line replacement. All of the CLEAR results can be found by visiting www.michigan.gov/flintwater.

*The 90th percentile value is what is used for compliance purposes for the LCR. It is important to note that since these homes had their service lines replaced with copper they would not meet the Tier I criteria for inclusion in the compliance calculation but the value has been provided for reference purposes.