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Bottled water donations flowing into Flint schools

Sep 28, 2015

It took five Home Depot employees a couple trips to unload a pickup truck filled with dozens of cases of bottled water into a classroom at a Flint elementary school this afternoon. 

Home Depot employees unloading cases of bottled water at Pierce elementary school in Flint
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The donation was the largest, but far from the only, bottled water donation to Flint schools today. 

School Superintendent Bilal Tawwab asked for donations after reports that Flint’s drinking water contains "serious" lead levels. Last week, local hospital officials announced their tests showed blood lead levels in children in Flint had nearly doubled since the switch. 

The timeline corresponds with the city’s switch from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River as the source of its drinking water. 

Children are especially at risk when exposed to high lead levels.

Tawwab is grateful for the response his request has received so far. But he adds the more than 5,000 students in the Flint Community Schools will need more. 

“We need a lot more donations like this,” Tawwab said as he stood in front of the 80-plus cases donated by two local Home Depots. “We just want to be able to meet the demand … so we’re just going to take as much as you guys will give.”

Tawwab says he’s asked the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to come in and test the water in Flint school buildings. 

He also asked state and local officials to come up with a solution to Flint’s water woes.

Researchers from Virginia Tech blame the highly “corrosive” nature of the Flint River. They claim the river water is breaking down lead pipes and lead solder used in water pipes, creating lead levels in some homes at above 15 parts per billion. 

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling has asked the state for $30 million to address the problem. $10 million would be for replacing lead pipes.