Virginia Tech's Flint Water Study team holds news conference to release new water testing results

Virginia Tech Professor Marc Edwards, leader of the university’s Flint Water Study team, will announce the latest water testing results from homes in the Michigan city at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11.

View the presentation:

The news conference will include data from:

The third round of lead in water testing, which was led by former Flint resident LeeAnne Walters and funded by the Environmental Protection Agency;

The second round of water heater disinfection by-product testing, which led by Dave Reckhow and his team at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and funded by the EPA;

A special study of water heater flushing and Legionella testing, which was led by Virginia Tech graduate students William Rhoads and Taylor Bradley and funded by the state of Michigan.


In August 2015, Edwards’ team collected samples from locations across Flint and found extremely high levels of lead and other contaminants in the city’s drinking water. The team’s work is widely credited with helping to expose the issue.

During spring break in March 2016, a team of civil and environmental engineering students from the College of Engineering worked alongside residents led by Lee-Anne Walters, a former Flint resident and hero-mom, to collect water samples for a second round of lead and iron testing. The primary goal of that second round of testing was to see how lead levels in Flint had changed since appropriate corrosion control has been added to the system, and since the city has been reconnected to Detroit’s water source, Lake Huron.

The team was able to re-sample 174 of the original 269 homes tested in August 2015. While those tests reflected improvement in the water, residents were urged to continue to use water filters and drink from bottled water. Residents were also urged to use the water to allow it to flush through the system. (Read the story:

A third round of lead in water testing was conducted this summer. (Read the story:

In concurrence with the lead in water problem, there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint. Legionella, bacteria that causes a type of lung infection leading to pneumonia otherwise known as Legionnaires’ disease, survives in soil and water and can multiply in water systems, such as hot tubs, air conditioners, and hot water heaters.

This summer, two engineering graduate students led a 15-person team in Flint examining the water quality in residential hot water heaters. Members of the Virginia Tech team tested water samples from water heaters in 30 Flint homes to evaluate the effects of cleaning the heaters with standardized protocols.

The Flint Water Study team has also completed another round of testing on the amounts of chloroform, total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), and disinfection byproducts present in Flint’s water. Testing earlier this year showed that Flint’s water, with Lake Huron as a source water and purchased from Detroit, meets all federal standards for chloroform, disinfection by-products (DBPs), and total trihalomethanes (TTHMs).

Edwards, a leading expert in safe drinking water and the deterioration of the water delivery infrastructure in America’s largest cities, has worked to seek solutions to the crisis. He serves on Michigan Gov. Snyder’s advisory group and has testified multiple times before Congress on the crisis.

Edwards and Flint pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha were honored and featured in the 2016 TIME 100, Time magazine’s annual list of the most influential people in the world, for their work in Flint.

More information on Virginia Tech’s work in Flint can be found online:


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