Lead levels fall below federal limits in Flint, Michigan - state

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Lead levels in Flint, Michigan's drinking water have receded below federal limits, state officials said on Tuesday, although they cautioned residents to continue using filtered water as work went on to replace the city's old lead pipes.

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Tests showed lead levels in the city's drinking water were 12 parts per billion (PPB) between July and December, below the federal limit of 15 PPB, Michigan officials said in a statement.

Flint, a predominantly black city of 100,000, was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager when it switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River in April 2014. The more corrosive river water caused lead to leach from city pipes and go into the drinking water.

Lead can cause various health problems in children, and Flint's contaminated water has prompted dozens of lawsuits and criminal charges against several former government officials.

Even with the test results, programs that provide water filters and related services will continue, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said in the statement.

"This is not the end of our work in Flint, but it is one more step along the path toward Flint's future," said Snyder, a Republican who has been sharply criticized by Flint residents for his handling of the crisis. (Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and David Ingram in New York; Editing by Alan Crosby and Jeffrey Benkoe)