Tests have shown lead levels in Flint water are now well within state and federal standards. But many Flint residents don’t trust the data, since it comes from the same government agencies that misled them during the Flint water crisis.
In response, the Flint Development Center created the Community Water Lab to give residents a testing option they could trust. Local teenagers collect and test the water samples from homes on Flint’s north side. Residents have the tap water tested by people from their community, and the teenagers gain experience they may later use in college.
“Our motivation is basically for the community,” says spokeswoman Shelly Sparks, “and ... to build trust in the Flint residents again. So that we can move forward past this water crisis, and can realize how resilient we are.”
Sparks says they’ve received pledges that have brought them close to their online fundraising goal, but they are still about $5,000 short of that they need to expand the program.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation says it will match donations if the Community Water Lab’s online campaign reaches $35,000 by July 31.