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State Launches New Streamlined Services for Residents - New Testing Sites Help Confirm Water Quality (Map Included)

February 10, 2016
Release #: 34

FLINT, Mich. – This week the Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Health and Human Services (MDHHS) initiated new initiatives to engage residents in a more in-depth level of data collection that will help confirm when Flint's drinking water is safe and provide a more streamlined level of post-testing services for resident health and wellness.
Starting today, 10 Sentinel Site teams consisting of representatives from the DEQ, along with licensed plumbers, will begin to visit 402 identified residential sites across the city to teach homeowners how to test their water in a scientifically accurate manner so they may submit regular samples to the state for testing.

Geographically dispersed across all nine wards, these sites will be established for ongoing lead and copper monitoring and will be resampled periodically to help determine when the drinking water advisory may be discontinued. This testing regimen calls for resampling every two weeks for an additional four, two-week cycle.

“These Sentinel Sites are an important step in helping us achieve a higher level of data analytics on the quality of the water," said Keith Creagh, Director of the DEQ. "The data collected will help us determine when and where corrosion control treatment has been effective.”

Also launching today is a more streamlined system of addressing residences that test high for lead or copper in their water. This new process will provide residents with more efficient in-home follow-up for environmental and health wrap-around services.

“As soon as we see that a household’s water level tests high for lead or copper, this new automatic protocol kicks in, beginning a series of measures to get people the health-related services they need faster,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with the MDHHS. "While many of these residents have had outreach from county and state agencies since last fall, this new system creates a timeline and multi-agency organizational structure so that services can be provided in a more cohesive manner."

The new streamlined system of in-home follow-up visits not only allows for faster residential feedback, but also allows for multiple agencies to work with residents in a more coordinated manner. The process is as follows:

  • Daily lab test results are posted publicly online at
  • Test results greater than 150 ppb are emailed to MDHHS
  • All test results are emailed to the City of Flint, who then sends them to residents by U.S. Mail
  • Within 48 hours, MDHHS coordinates a home health visit through the Genesee County Health Department to any resident whose lead test result was greater than 150 ppb. Home visit includes:
    • Health and wellness information
    • Off-site blood test referral
    • Assists with transportation support for appointments, as necessary
    • Provides additional bottled water, filters and water sample kits
  • Within 48 hours, DEQ schedules a home water visit to any resident whose lead test result was greater than 150 ppb (100 ppb or greater, but less than 150 ppb residents are visited within seven days). Home visit includes:
    • Water testing and sampling information
    • Water sample collection
    • Inspection by the Flint Local 370 Plumbers Union (field verification of service line, aerator cleanout, filter check)
    • Provides additional bottled water, filters and water sample kits

Unlike lead, there is a safe level of copper. Everyone comes into contact with it every day and copper is essential for good health, but for homes with elevated copper levels, individuals are being instructed to use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

People’s bodies require copper for normal functioning, and at different amounts depending on age, and whether a women is pregnant or breastfeeding. Ingesting high levels of copper can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Additional information about the Flint water emergency is available at, by calling United Way 211 or visiting