Four months after being notified about high lead levels in a Flint home, the Environmental Protection Agency was prepared to let the city continue giving lead-contaminated water to customers until at least 2016, emails released Friday show.Phosphate is a relatively cheap, innocuous, (even nutritional) chemical which forms insoluble lead phosphate on the lead surface of the pipe, preventing further corrosion of the pipe. It's a bad idea to use lead pipe (it hasn't been done since the 1930s). but if there are lead pipes in a system, it is important that lead corrosion be considered and phosphate added if warranted. Waiting 2 years is not an option.
Jennifer Crooks, the Michigan program manager for the EPA's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, sent out an agenda on June 8, 2015, for a planned call with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials.
In that email, Crooks said it was known that Flint had not been adding any corrosion-control chemicals to its water to prevent lead from leaching from the pipes into drinking water since April 2014. She said the city was in its second six-month testing period.
It didn't make sense for the city to start a corrosion control program in June 2015, Crooks wrote. "Since Flint has lead service lines, we understand some citizen-requested lead sampling is exceeding the Action Level, and the source of drinking water will be changing again in 2016, so to start a Corrosion Control Study now doesn't make sense," Crooks wrote.
"The idea to ask Flint to simply add phosphate may be premature; there are many other issues and factors that must be taken into account which would require a comprehensive look at the water quality and the system before any treatment recommendations can/should be made."
The email was sent almost four months after EPA researcher Miguel Del Toral was made aware of high lead in Flint's water.It's only a problem if you can blame a Republican.