Water in Flint, Michigan, is improving, researchers said Thursday. But it still has a ways to go.
Researchers from Virginia Tech University — the very same ones who exposed the lead problem in Flint's water supply — said the city's water quality has improved significantly, the Associated Press reported. The researchers tested 162 homes, 45 percent of which had no "detectable levels of lead," according to the AP. Marc Edwards, the lead researcher told the news wire service that the situation was "dramatically better" than last year. Edwards had initially alerted the public that lead was an issue in the town because of a lack of corrosion controls.
Jeremy Dillon, energy and environment reporter with CQ Roll Call, tweeted, however, that researchers "cautioned that study was random, and did not target high risk homes." To that end, the researchers recommended that people in Flint keep following Environmental Protection Agency guidelines that say to drink either bottled or filtered water. It's still too risky to drink the tap water.
Flint's water was contaminated after it switched over to using the Flint River as a water supply in 2014. Pipes weren't further protected from corrosion, however, and as protective coatings from old pipes eroded lead released into the water supply. Residents were left with toxic water.
U.S. President Obama visited the town in May after the situation turned into a full-fledged crisis.
"You should be angry," he told parents while sipping filtered Flint water, via CNN. "But channel that anger. You should be hurt, but don't sink into despair. And most of all, do not somehow communicate to our children here in this city that they're going to be saddled with problems for the rest of their lives, because they will not. They'll do just fine."
A state of emergency in Flint expires Sunday, which means no more federal funds for filters and bottled water, NPR reported. The state of Michigan has said it will cover the full cost of providing clean water to the city.