The Water in Flint Looks Pretty Drinkable These Days

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The New York Times reports on the water in Flint:

Five months after state authorities announced that it was unsafe to drink unfiltered water because of high lead levels caused by government errors over the past two years, federal officials said here last week that the water still was not safe, and, as testing goes on, offered no promise for when it would be.

I understand the need for caution, as well as the obvious distrust that Flint residents have for official pronouncements that everything is now hunky-dory. But I wonder if this has paralyzed us in a way that’s now causing more harm than good? There have been more than 13,000 residential tests of Flint’s water since the beginning of the year, and it sure looks to me like the water is now pretty safe.

The chart below shows weekly lead readings compared to the end of 2015 and early 2016. The only thing I’ve done is remove readings over 2,000 ppb, since those outliers can affect the averages in misleading ways. Since the middle of January, there hasn’t been a single week in which the average was over 15 ppb, which is the usual level of concern. The average over the entire period since mid-January is 10.52 ppb. Needless to say, it would be nice to get the average level below 5 ppb, but even for households with kids the water in Flint looks pretty drinkable these days.

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