On Sat, Jan 23, 2016 at 9:05 AM, Kay Schwartz <email@example.com> wrote:
Friends in the Library world,
The Flint Public Library is getting many expressions of sympathy from libraries all over the country about the water crisis in Flint - thank you all so much for your concern for our community and our library!
Flint indeed has a long road to travel, because we have to now determine what homes and businesses and what underground water systems were damaged by the corrosive water, and decide how to fix all that. Now that we're
back on regular Lake Huron water, we still aren't able to drink it until each and every home and building is tested to make sure that the service lines AND the lines within the home are not leaching lead. It varies building
to building, neighborhood to neighborhood, and house to house. Understand that it was not the river water per se but the failure to add corrosion control to the water, that caused the damage. The water was ok when it left the plant but corroded the pipes on the way to homes and corroded the pipes inside your home or building on the way to your faucets.
From what the EPA has said, the use of corrosion control is so basic that they didn't at first believe Flint wasn't using it. This failure resulted from direct advice to Flint from the Michigan DEQ.
We do know that some children have been exposed to lead for as much as 18 months, either at home or at school, or both. One of the saddest findings is that three of our elementary schools had lead levels that, at least in some of the samples, were above the danger level. So kids were drinking lead contaminated water in their school buildings from April 2014 through the entire 2014-15 school year and until October 2015.
\Toxic lead levels found in water at three Flint schools
At Flint Public Main Library (our only site), soon after the switch to river water in April 2014 we noticed that our water from the faucets and in the toilets was discolored. We didn't really know what was happening but
it was clearly due to the water switch. After four months or so of yellow-tinted water from the faucets all the time and orange water in the toilets when we arrived after the weekend, we declared the water> undrinkable, even though the City said it was safe. We contracted with Absopure to bring in water coolers for both the public and staff areas. So I'm happy to say we've been providing clean drinking water here at the Library since August of 2014. Eventually we will need to determine the condition of the infrastructure in our building and decide what to do about the plumbing, but it's not an emergency at this time.
The situation has been different and much more difficult in the Flint homes that were affected by the corrosion. People have had to bathe their children with the yellow water, wash their clothes in it, and decide whether to drink it and cook with it or to purchase water for those purposes. Again, the water quality for the past 18 months has varied from house to house - some neighborhoods had perfectly clear water. But was it carrying lead all that time? We don't yet know. Lots more work to do.
The Library has been providing information referrals to the public on the water issue through a wonderful information network in our community. We're pretty small here so news travels fast; we have great local media and a regional/local 211 service. The City, Health Department, United Way, and others decided to make 211 the central point for information, so we've been able to connect people with the information they need.
We are grateful for all the water donations that are coming to Flint from everywhere in the U.S. But the costs that will be incurred to mitigate the damage to children from lead exposure are going to come due over a long
period of time and with costs that can't possibly be known right now
For anyone who wants to help our community deal with the long range> effects of this crisis, I encourage a money donation to our Community Foundation's Flint Child Health & Development Fund that has been established to fund programming now and into the future for kids affected by lead exposure. This is a gift that will be greatly needed even after the current water issues are solved. Go to
Thanks to everyone for your heartfelt sympathy and offers of support...
Flint Public Library
1026 E. Kearsley Street
Flint, MI 48503