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Gov. Rick Snyder: Initial 'sentinel site' data reveals mostly low lead levels, concerns remain

Plan for regular data distribution detailed 

Monday, Feb. 22, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – Results from initial water samples collected last week from ‘sentinel sites’ across Flint revealed mostly low lead levels, but concerns still exist, Gov. Rick Snyder said.

Sentinel sites are locations across the city that will be continually tested to gather scientifically sound data needed to determine the safety of the water. The sites are determined by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency in cooperation with residents.

“In order for Flint to truly move forward, we must be able to collect and analyze water data from these sites around the city,” Snyder said. “While initial results are encouraging, we remain concerned about any high levels of lead or copper. We appreciate the willingness of residents to participate in this program that will be essential to Flint’s recovery.” 

Data from the sentinel sites is being collected over the next seven weeks in two groupings that will total more than 400 sites across the city. Initial testing in sentinel group A took place from Feb. 10-14 in 175 Flint residences, while the first round of testing for sentinel group B will start this week.  

The first tests for group A included 175 samples that were tested for lead and copper. Nearly 90 percent (156) of the samples were below the action level (15 parts per billion) while 19 of the samples (10.9 percent) exceeded the action level. Five homes exceed 100 ppb and were notified and scheduled for a home visit/inspection. Only one home exceeded the action level for copper.

Testing will continue in two-week intervals for each testing group with sample results posted the week following the sample. Homeowners can see results which are posted on line within 4-5 days and will receive hard copy within one week.

Sentinel teams visiting homes include a member of DEQ, a licensed plumber and a community member. The teams show residents how to draw samples of their water in a scientifically accurate manner so they may submit regular samples to the state for testing.

“Results from sentinel sites will help us determine the general health of the distribution system,” said Keith Creagh, director of the DEQ. “We will continue to collect and analyze this data over the next several weeks and share the progress with the public. We encourage residents to continue using bottled water and water filters until the quality of drinking water has been determined.”

For all residential water testing samples, home follow-up visits have been streamlined to ensure homes with levels higher than 150 parts per billion are contacted by MDEQ and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services within 48 hours. Homes with levels between 100 and 149 ppb are contacted within seven days for a home visit. NSF-approved filters are certified for lead reduction up to 150 ppb.

A 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)
  • Additional bottled water, filters and water sample kits
  • Health and wellness information
  • Off-site blood test referral
  • Assistance with transportation support for appointments, as necessary

Additional information about the Flint water emergency is available at, by calling United Way 211 or visiting