According to Virginia Tech University researchers, a large part of the problem with Flint’s drinking water is the corrosiveness of the water in the Flint River. The researchers have determined that the water is 19 times more corrosive to lead solder used in pipes than Detroit’s water which was Flint’s previous supply.
To lessen the corrosiveness, cities use a common chemical called orthophosphate. However, researchers say, that even after adding orthophosphate, Flint’s water would still be 16 times more corrosive than Detroit’s.
Virginia Tech researchers have been testing samples collected from hundreds of Flint homes. They have found “serious” levels of lead in almost one in five. The researchers have urged some homeowners to stop drinking their tap water entirely.
They say their test results show the city should resume the practice of getting drinking water from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department. Flint shut off its water pipeline to Detroit last year. The Flint River is a temporary water source until a new pipeline from Lake Huron is completed sometime next year.
City and state officials have taken issue with the Virginia Tech findings. They insist their own testing has not shown similar results.