Virginia Tech scientist talks ‘Flint water crisis’ with WMU students, staff

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KALAMAZOO, Mich--It's a crisis in Flint that's escalated for years, lead in the water.

When it comes to the problems in Flint, a team from Virginia Tech is credited with helping bring the lead in the water 'to light'.

Tuesday night, one of those team members spoke at Western Michigan University about the science behind the discovery and how he used it to help others.

FOX 17's Erica Francis was there for the discussion.


It was a packed room indeed, filled with students, staff and others, all interested in hearing Siddhartha Roy speak on behalf of the Flint water crisis.

Throughout the discussion, you couldn't help but notice the passion in Roy's voice.

"I think the real heroes in this story, if there are any, are the citizens of flint," Roy said.
"The fact that they, you know, tolerated humiliation, they tolerated being shamed, being arrested and are still fighting for their basic right is admirable."

Although the discussion only lasted a little more than an hour, Roy's message was very concise--that Flint was "a perfect storm for lead release" and that the people of Flint were "poisoned by lead."

He also touched on where that lead comes from, what Legionaries disease is and how he believes certain departments like the MDEG didn't act fast enough.

Roy's quest to help the people of Flint started in August when his team sent out 300 lead testing kits. That's when he says the experimenting began.

Roy showed some graphics and results from the experiments he and his Virginia Tech team completed over the past year, one in particular, showed the difference between Flint and Detroit's water and how they effect iron pipes.


The VA Tech team announced earlier this month that they plan to wrap up their work in Flint. To hear more about the team's efforts you visit

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