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Officials urge Flint residents to have water tested for lead levels

The City of Flint Water Plant is illuminated by moonlight on January 23, 2016 in Flint, Michigan.

Brett Carlsen, Getty Images

FLINT, Mich. -- A state lab analyzing lead levels of tap water in Flint is operating seven days per week and can process 1,000 tests each day, officials said.

Test results are mailed to homes and are available online, and people who get their water from Flint's system were urged to have their water tested. Water samples must be taken with at-home testing kits provided by the state and dropped off at five Flint firehouses that also are operating as water resource sites, state officials said in a release.

Meanwhile, the city's water crisis continues to garner attention outside Michigan, especially among celebrities.

Actor Michael Keaton told reporters backstage Saturday night at the 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles that reporters could have gotten ahead of the water crisis.

" ... had there been a spotlight put on that ... maybe they would have been a little bit ahead of the situation," Keaton said.

Rapper Snoop Dogg also met Saturday with Mayor Karen Weaver during a water drive in Flint, according to MLive.com.

They join Cher, Eminem, Madonna and other celebrities involved in water donation efforts or who have pledged support to the city.

Snoop Dogg stopped in Flint before a Saturday night performance in Detroit.

"He came and just wanted to sit down and talk about what's been going on in Flint," Weaver told MLive.com. "What I appreciated is he wanted to get a thorough understanding about how long this has been going on and what's been happening."

flint-water.jpg

Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant William Phillips assists a Flint resident with bottled water at a fire station in Flint, Michigan in this file photo from January 13, 2016.

REUTERS

Flint switched in 2014 to the Flint River from Detroit's water system to save money. The river water was not treated properly and lead from pipes leached into Flint homes. Tests have shown high lead levels in some Flint children.

Water donations have been coming into Flint from across Michigan and the country. The state has been distributing free water filters and testing kits door-to-door in the city.

But federal officials warned Flint residents Friday that water samples from more than two dozen locations have higher lead levels than can be treated by the filters.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said lead readings at 26 homes in the city were 10 times the federal limit-- too high to be treated by filters distributed by the state.

"It's really important that everyone get their water tested," Weaver said.

Lead level in some Flint locations has exceeded 150 parts per billion, which is the level for which water filters are graded.

CBS News reported that according to health officials, water lead levels at 3,900 other sites were considered safe. Despite the concerning levels at some homes, the EPA's Mark Durno urged calm.

"We're confident that these filters work," Durno said.

"My hair is falling out. My blood tests are a mess. I was healthy," Flint resident Melissa Mays said. Mays has been outspoken about the tainted water, and said she was horrified by the new lead readings.

"There's no trust. There's no trust in the filters, there's no trust in what the state and community are doing at this point," Mays told CBS News.

About 300 union members of Plumbing Manufacturers International also have started installing donated faucets and other plumbing items to homes and apartments in Flint.

"People that don't even know us, have never heard of flint before are at our side," Flint resident Lawanda Asa, 70, told The Flint Journal. "We're so very blessed that the American people have such big hearts."