The Flint water crisis dealt a devastating blow to the Michigan community that has continuously plagued the city since 2014, but a leading lead exposure expert says things will finally be back to normal sooner than later.
Virginia Tech Professor Marc Edwards has been closely following the Flint water crisis that resulted in residents unknowingly consuming drinking water contaminated with lead for over two years, and he says the quality of the water in the city has "dramatically improved." Speaking at a news conference in Blacksburg, VA earlier this week, Edwards was confident that much better days are ahead for the people of Flint.
"All of the indicators are that we're heading in the right direction," he said while speaking on his latest research findings. "Things are dramatically better than they were in 2015."
Edwards also mentioned that filtered water in Flint is now believed to be as good as, if not better than, bottled water.
However, despite Edwards' optimistic outlook, the expected timeline for the city to fully recover is not likely to excite long-suffering residents. In addition to Edwards cautioning that the recovery speed will depend heavily on new infrastructure investments and close monitoring on the part of state and federal government officials, visibility of "drastic" improvements are expected to take anywhere between six months and one year.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver acknowledged that things are improving but cautioned against feeding too much into the progress reports and emphasized several points made by Edwards about the work that still needs to be done to ensure that the water is safe for Flint residents to drink.
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"While science seems to show things are improving, Edwards stressed that the current quality of the water in Flint still isn’t good enough and it is not safe to drink," Weaver said in a statement on Thursday. "It’s important for residents to keep using the filters and bottled water being provided at water resource sites located around the city."
Mayor Weaver later added that none of the "progress reports" thus far have given a clear timeline for when Flint residents will be able to safely drink tap water again.