When the City of Flint switched its water source in April 2014, the water from the Flint River was organically different than Lake Huron. The Flint River water was not treated properly and once it hit the pipes the corrosive water removed a protective coating on the inside of the pipes causing lead and copper to leach into the water.
In October 2015, the City of Flint changed its water source back to Lake Huron (Detroit water) and began treating it with chemicals. The pipes were so damaged from two years of corroded water that a simple switch back didn’t solve the problem. Pipes need to be re-coated and replaced to stop the lead from leaching.
Both Dr. Marc Edwards and the EPA say yes but it’s not working as fast as they had hoped. They are asking all residents to flush their pipes to help move water through the system and have installed automatic flushers on fire hydrants throughout the city.
The EPA, State of Michigan, and the City of Flint are all asking residents to flush their pipes. Beginning May 1, residents are being advised to run cold water at the highest flow in their bath tub for five minutes. Shower heads should not be used for flushing due to its reduced flow rate.
Residents are then to bypass or remove their water filters and run cold water through their kitchen faucets for five minutes. Filters can then be reinstalled or reactivated.
A note from Mayor Karen Weaver’s office…
The goal of Mayor Weaver’s Fast Start initiative is to replace all lead-tainted service lines in the city, with an initial estimate that 15,000 lines will need to be replaced. The project includes the removal of service lines made of lead and galvanized steel, as both types appear to be contributing to the lead contamination in Flint’s water supply. See the Programs to Remove Lead section of this page for more details.
Programs to Remove Lead
Mayor Karen Weaver launched her FAST Start initiative to replace all lead-tainted residential service lines in Flint, Mich., after it was discovered that a state-appointed emergency manager’s decision to switch the City’s water source to the Flint River in 2014 without the necessary corrosion control chemicals being added had allowed the corrosive water to remove a protective coating on the inside of the pipes, causing lead to leach into the city’s drinking water supply. The program’s goal is to replace all the lead-tainted service lines leading to nearly 20,000 Flint homes by 2020 so Flint residents can again drink the water without using a filter. Lines are scheduled to be replaced at 6,000 homes in 2017. To learn more about the Fast Start Initiative you can follow it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram via @FlintFastStart or visit the website https://www.cityofflint.com/fast-start/
For service lines to be replaced…
1. The non-copper portions of the service line from the water main to your water meter will be replaced at no cost to the homeowner. You must have an active water account to have your service line replaced.
2. The homeowner/property owner must give permission to replace the service line. In rental homes, the tenant also must give permission for the service line to be replaced
3. If you don’t allow your service line to be replaced, you run the risk of still having lead in your tap water.
4. You or someone 18 years old must be home while the pipe replacement is taking place.
5. As part of the pipe replacement, your water may be tested before and after the service line is replaced. Water testing is voluntary, and residents will have to give separate permission for water testing to be done.
6. Your water will be shut off for a period of four to 24 hours while the line is being replaced. The contractor will make every effort to have your water restored the same day that installation begins.
7. Please maintain a clear path to the water meter and clear material away from the water meter so work crews can run the replacement pipe to it.
8. The contractor will flush the water in your home for 15 minutes after the pipe is replaced to remove any residue or sediment from the water line. You should flush your pipes a second time for at least 15 minutes once the contractor has left. This should cost you less than 10 cents for the additional water usage. Please continue to use your water filters until you receive further notice from the City.
9. All turf areas disturbed by the service line replacement will be seeded and mulched as soon as practicable. Pavement areas that are disturbed will be replaced with similar pavement surfaces. The city will not be responsible for any damage to trees or landscaping affected by the replacement of the service line.
If you need a free, NSF-certified water filter or replacement cartridge, they are available at one of the water resource sites across the City of Flint. Visit www.michigan.gov/flintwater or call 2-1-1 to find a resource site near you. If you have questions, contact the FAST Start office weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (810) 410-1133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click HERE for a flier on the Fast Start program.
Habitat for Humanity has funds to replace water heaters, internal piping, and fixtures. See the information below and contact Habitat for more information and program requirements.
The Lead Safe Home Program at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offers assistance to families, as well as Rental Property Owners, in making their homes lead-safe for children. The LSHP provides services to eligible households for testing the home for lead paint hazards, as well as water hazards (Flint only) and providing necessary services to fix these identified hazards. Thousands of young children now live in housing made lead safe through our program.
You may qualify if you:
- Have a child under 6 or a pregnant female living in the home
- Are a low-to-moderate income family
- Live in a home built before 1978
- Live in the counties of Genesee, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lenawee, Macomb, Oakland, Saginaw, or the city of Detroit OR elsewhere if your child has a lead level of 5 or above
- Own or rent the home
Begin the process by clicking on the one of the following Lead Safe Home Program applications.