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The team that will spend spring break in Flint, Michigan.

Seven months after his team of researchers and students first conclusively found toxic levels of lead in Flint's tap water, Virginia Tech Professor Marc Edwards and the Flint Water Study team headed back to Michigan to retest the water. 

How did this happen?

Last summer, Flint resident Lee-Anne Walters reached out more than 500 miles to Virginia Tech for help after officials said the orange water flowing into residents’ homes was OK to drink. 

That first round of testing was a wake-up call to the nation. 

Virginia Tech students and faculty, led by Edwards, the Charles Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, discovered more than 133 times the amount of lead on average was in the water than the maximum allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The August 2015 testing by the Flint Water Study team was the only sampling event in Flint done in accordance with the intent of the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule. 

The new sampling, to begin this week, will be the best way to gauge what has happened to lead levels, especially since water is no longer being drawn from the corrosive Flint River. The supply reverted back to Lake Huron in October 2015. 

The same 269 homes originally tested will be tested again. After sampling, it will be about six more weeks before the nearly 300 samples are returned and analyzed. The results will be posted on the Flint Water Study website.

Students on Virginia Tech's Flint Water Study team prepare water sample kits to be sent to Flint for retesting.

Students working in a lab
Students on Virginia Tech's Flint Water Study team prepare water sample kits to be sent to Flint for retesting.


Who is the Flint Water Study team?

The team includes Edwards, environmental engineering faculty member and Professor Amy Pruden, Joe Falkinham of the Department of Biological Sciences within the Virginia Tech College of Science, and a cohort of Virginia Tech researchers and students.

More information about the team can be found on its website: flintwaterstudy.org


Where can I learn more?

Edwards and his team of research scientists and students gave a presentation in Blacksburg to outline their internationally recognized work — done in collaboration with Flint, Michigan, residents — that exposed widespread lead-in-water contamination. See live coverage of the event

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Meet the Bloggers

  • Cassandra Hockman is the communications coordinator for the Fralin Life Science Institute.
  • Jordan Fifer is a multimedia Web producer for Virginia Tech University Relations.
  • Logan Wallace is a senior photographer for Virginia Tech University Relations.
  • J. Scott Parker is a video producer for Virginia Tech University Relations.

For the Media

  • Broadcast-quality video and photos of the team are available. Contact Jordan Fifer for more information.
  • Other media information, including interview opportunities, can be arranged by contacting Mark Owczarski.