On April 7, 2018, following the MDEQ release of water quality data, the State of Michigan announced the discontinued resource of bottled water for Flint residents. Bottled water, supplied with state fund, is NO longer available. At this point any bottled water coming into the community is from donations only.
Filters and Testing Kits
Filter units and replacement cartridges are available at the 3 Help Centers. Testing kits are available at Flint City Hall. Test kits are limited to 2 kits per calendar year. Residents with questions may call the City of Flint Monday – Friday (10:00am – 2:00pm) at 810.766.7106
Community organizations have established three help centers that are open to all residents. Click HERE for more information on the Help Centers.
You can boil filtered water for cooking and other needs.
NO! Even if your water is clear it doesn’t mean your water is lead free. Lead doesn’t have a color or a taste.
Not everyone agrees on which to use and when. Here is what we know:
Use tap water for:
- Never DRINK tap water
- Some experts say it’s ok to wash adult dishes and bathe. Others say there is not enough proof it’s safe to use tap water for bathing. Use caution and make your own judgement
Use bottled or filtered water for:
- Drinking – you and your pets!
- Brushing teeth
- Washing baby bottles, pacifiers and children’s dishes
- Cooking and washing fruits or vegetables
- Gardening (see the gardening page for more information)
The state of Michigan states filtered water is safe for all populations. The Genesee County Medical Society (Press release can be found on this page) states the below populations should use ONLY bottled water for:
- Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children under the age of 6 should only use bottled water
- Mixing baby formula
All agree you should ONLY use BOTTLED water if:
- If you think your filter is not working properly
- If you haven’t had your water tested
- If your water lead level is higher than 150 parts per billion
Some experts say filtered water is safe for everyone that doesn’t meet any of the above reasons. However, others say the filters only work for some metals and chemicals and not everything is being tested. Use whichever makes you feel more comfortable but remember to NEVER drink water that has not been filtered or in a bottle
June 29, 2016
Press Release: GCMS Recommendation regarding Flint Municipal Water
The Genesee County Medical Society has reviewed the announcement in which the CDC stated that Flint municipal water which has been correctly filtered is no longer a health hazard for lead, as well as the EPA report on which it is based.
Data supports decreasing lead levels in Flint municipal water during the period of January-April 2016. When levels were high in the tested samples, filters which were properly maintained did not allow lead levels above 15 ppb, the EPA “action level.” This is the lead level for which a formal response is triggered if more than 10% of homes are measured at or above this number, although all acknowledge that no level of lead is considered “safe”.
However, despite these encouraging results, the Genesee County Medical Society wishes to caution that this data was collected before the system flushing program in May 2016, so it is important to have the residential water tested again to make sure that no lead sediment was dislodged in the pipes leading to a residence. Bare metal in the pipes or stray metal flakes (lead and other metals), could unexpectedly cause higher levels in water than previously measured in an individual home.
Further, in order for filtered Flint municipal water to be safe, the filter system must be used correctly at all times, with the filter changed as instructed and never left beyond its recommended date of use. The aerators must be flushed according to instructions on a regular basis, as the recent pipe flushing has raised the risk of lead particles dislodging from inside the pipes and being caught in the aerators.
Lastly, it is also very important that consumers of Flint municipal water understand that the filters for lead do not filter out legionella or other microorganisms. Those who are at high risk for legionella infections due to the following risk factors are recommended to continue using only bottled water for drinking, cooking and brushing teeth:
Legionella Risk Factors for Individual Adults and Children (as applicable):
- Recent travel with an overnight stay away from home (up to 14 days prior to symptom onset), recent hospital or outpatient (office) healthcare exposure (up to 14 days before symptom onset)
- Exposure to hot tubs (such as whirlpool spas) including either direct use, walking or sitting near a spa.
- Recent repairs or maintenance work on household plumbing
- Chronic kidney or liver disease including end-stage organ disease (such as kidney dialysis)
- Diabetes mellitus
- Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive lung disease – COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, severe asthma and other severe lung conditions)
- Solid organ or hematologic malignancy (such as cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, sarcoma)
- Immune system disorders (such as HIV/AIDS, transplant patients on immunosuppressant drugs, long-term steroid use)
- Current or former smokers
- Age ≥ 50 years
In summary, the Genesee County Medical Society is making the following recommendations:
For those people who are most at risk for the negative effects of lead on the brain – Children less than 6 years old and pregnant women (for the fetus) – we recommend remaining on bottled water until the water is tested if it has not been tested since the beginning of this June (2016)
Filters should be maintained and changed as per the individual instructions. Filters should not be used more than 3 months under any circumstances.
Aerators on any taps used for drinking, cooking or brushing teeth should be checked regularly to remove any metal bits that may have been caught.
People who are in the high-risk groups for legionella (see above) should continue using only bottled water for drinking, cooking and brushing teeth, and should continue to follow the other guidelines to reduce legionella risk, because of the risk of aspiration.
People who are using filters correctly, have had their water tested and shown to be negative for lead, and who are not members of one of the high-risk groups (see list), may use correctly filtered Flint Municipal Water.
While it is our understanding that bottled water will be available indefinitely for those who need it, the GCMS also reminds our patients to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. State and federal agencies advise that to prepare for any emergency anywhere everyone should keep enough water to provide three gallons of water to last three days for each person and pet in the household (i.e. 9 gallons for each person or pet).
For questions or comments, please contact Peter Levine at firstname.lastname@example.org
We Don’t Know! Many experts disagree and we ask you to use caution.
There is a lot of conflicting information regarding bathing in the water. The EPA and State of Michigan has stated that it is safe to bathe quickly in luke warm water making sure children do not get water in their mouth. While most agree it is not the lead causing bathing concerns, entities like Water Defense and others say there isn’t enough testing of other things in the water to factually say bathing is safe. Review the research and follow what your body and gut is telling you.
No. Your low lead test result is encouraging, but the results are from a specific sample showing a snapshot in time. So it doesn’t mean that your water is always safe to drink. There is still a citywide water emergency in Flint and everyone, including pets, should drink filtered or bottled water until further notice.
There are lots of things to remember when using bottled water:
- Keep it out of the sunlight and avoid high heat. If you have to store it outside, it’s best to cover with a tarp or dark cloth.
- Water is heavy! Make sure you don’t stack too high and be sure your floor joists are strong enough to handle the weight.
- Do not drink bottled water after it has been opened and in heat for a long time. Bacteria can grow once a bottle is open and heat makes it grow faster!
- Be sure to rotate your stock! It’s best to use the water you’ve had the longest first.