Water contamination concerns raised after Flint crisis - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-Team Investigation

Water contamination concerns raised after Flint crisis

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Municipalities that provide water to towns, cities check clear for lead (WFSB) Municipalities that provide water to towns, cities check clear for lead (WFSB)

It’s practically odorless, tasteless and it has plagued the entire city of Flint, MI.

Many families in Michigan are wondering what exactly is in their water.

What once was an afterthought is now in the forefront of the minds of families across the whole country, even in Connecticut.

That’s because lead is nearly undetectable through taste.

“The action level for lead being in your water, you wouldn't taste anything. Even at the Flint, Michigan level, you wouldn't taste it,” said Stephen Franco of Connecticut Testing Laboratories.

Eyewitness News went to five Connecticut towns and cities that have their water serviced by the municipalities, and looked for lead and pesticides.

“I assumed we had decent water here and I didn't concern myself with it,” said Marc Rapport, of West Hartford.

As a mother, LaToya Leary, of Middletown, said “I don't want them to grow up and have any issues with the drinking water.”

Eyewitness News took samples from Waterbury, Southington, West Hartford, Middletown and Norwich, and used two tests.

One was a $28 home test that can be purchased at local hardware stores.

To test, you take a drop of the water and there are two strips used—one will test for lead and the other one tests for pesticides.

You let it soak for 10 minutes and then the results are ready.

All five home tests checked out okay.

Then, Eyewitness News took another sample of each town’s water and brought it to the Connecticut Testing Lab in Meriden, where technicians rigorously tested the water for lead.

Since the Flint crisis, Franco said he has seen the demand for the tests soar.

“We had a 25 percent increase in people requesting lead analysis,” Franco said.

After five business days, the results were ready.

“This report here basically shows there was no lead in any of the samples,” Franco said.

This means, the water flowing from the municipalities is just fine.

“In the case of Flint, they used river water which was highly corrosive,” Franco said. “When they went into the distribution system, it was leeching the lead out of the system and the household plumbing, so in that situation, the lead is already coming to you.”

Franco said just because the source water in Connecticut is okay, and the individual tests came back clean, you can’t assume the water coming out of your pipes can’t be contaminated.

“If there's lead in your house then it's coming from your house, it's not coming from the town,” Franco said.

To spot lead, look at pipes and if they are corroded or leaking, the problem could be lead.

Also, look for blue-green stains around a bathtub or toilet. That comes from copper, but if a homeowner has copper in their water, experts said it probably means they have lead too.

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