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Have you missed parts of the Flint water story? Here's a quick rundown.

Sep 25, 2015

Flint switched its drinking water source in April of 2014. The city went from Detroit water to water from the Flint River, and there have been problems ever since.

Most recently, residents have been enraged to hear about elevated lead levels in kids. At this point, Flint residents have been unsure about the safety of their water for over a year.

Here's a quick rundown of the problems some Flint residents have been complaining about.  

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Discoloration and smell

Water issues started right after the switch as residents complained that the new water smelled and tasted different. City officials issued boil water advisories but insisted this was not connected to the switch.

E. coli
Tests of Flint water showed high levels of bacteria, including E. coli. Residents were issued a number of boil water notices.

Chlorine 
To address the increased E. coli levels, the city pumped more chlorine into the system as a disinfectant.

TTHM
​In January of 2015, residents received warnings that their water didn't meet federal safety standards because tests were showing higher rates of total trihalomethane. TTHM is a byproduct of the chlorine that had been used to address earlier problems. Too much TTHM increases the risk of cancer. Average TTHM levels did not fall to acceptable levels again until late this summer.

Lead
In January 2015, the University of Michigan-Flint conducted tests of its own water. Some of their samples contained "high levels of lead." At that time, researchers said the lead levels were high in those samples because the water was spending a lot of time sitting in old pipes. 

Activists started asking for courts to force the city to go back to Detroit water in April. Those requests fell short.

An EPA memo leaked in July documented "extremely high levels at one woman's home, high enough that her son got lead poisoning." 

Marc Edwards, PhD, of Virginia Tech University holds two vials of water, one from Flint and the other from Detroit. The Flint water is noticeably cloudy.
Credit Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Researchers from Virginia Tech tested samples from nearly 300 Flint homes in September.  Their findings showed 'seriously' high levels of lead.  

On September 24, Flint pediatricians announced their findings that the percentage of Flint children with elevated blood levels has almost doubled since the water source switch.

Update Oct. 2, 2015 

As more evidence flows in about the lead levels in the water, people are wondering how this could have happened. The decision to switch water sources was made while the city was under the control of a state-appointed Emergency Manager. Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech researcher, blames the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. He says the MDEQ should have required that corrosion control mechanisms be put in place to safeguard from exactly what ended up happening: corrosive water leaching lead from the city's old pipes.

At a press conference on October 2, MDEQ officials said they had been treating the water with lime, which they said is a form of corrosion control. The state also rolled out a plan to address the crisis, and said it will pay up to $1 million for water filters.