Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Flint Water Crisis.

What are the recommendations for drinking bottled or filtered water?

Filtered water is safe for everyone to drink and cook with, so long as your filter is properly installed and working correctly! If you are uncertain if your filter is working correctly, make sure that pregnant women, nursing mothers, babies, young children, pets, and residents with health conditions drink and cook ONLY with bottled water.  You should run your water first thing in the morning for 2 minutes, cold water, with the filter in the OFF position, before using your filter to get water for drinking or cooking. Don’t forget to turn the filter to the ON position before drinking water from the filter!

Is it really important to have a filter installed?

All Flint residents should have a water filter installed on a faucet used for drinking or cooking. Filtered water should be used for all drinking and cooking, unless you are one of the residents who should drink and cook with only bottled water (see above).

How do I get a filter?

If you need bottled water, filters, replacement cartridges for filters, or water testing kits, you may get these resources at the following Community Water Resource Centers. If you are unable to travel to pick up these resources, call 211 for assistance.

Ward 1: Genesee County Land Bank, Ross Plaza, 2320 Pierson St.
Ward 2: St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, 3020 DuPont St.
Ward 3: Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 4805 N. Saginaw St.
Ward 4: Franklin Avenue Lot, 1401 E. Stewart Ave. 
Ward 5: Old Flint Farmers’ Market, 420 E. Boulevard Drive
Ward 6: West Court Street Church of God, 2920 W. Court St. 
Ward 7: Dort Federal Event Center, 3501 Lapeer Road
Ward 8: Lincoln Park United Methodist Church, 3410 Fenton Road
Ward 9: Eastown Bowl Bowling Alley, 3001 S. Dort Highway

The hours of operations for these community sites are:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday: Noon – 6 p.m.
Tuesday and Friday: Noon – 8 pm

Can I get help installing a filter? I can't seem to get it to work.

If you need help installing a filter, call us at 517-420-4341 for assistance. If the faucet you have installed in your home is incompatible with the filters being distributed, we may be able to install a faucet that is compatible, free of charge.

How do I know if my filter is working?

Be sure to check your filter regularly! The filters being distributed around the city have lights that indicate if the filter cartridge is working or if it needs to be replaced. If the light flashes green when you first run the water through the filter, great! Keep monitoring it regularly. If the light flashes yellow, the cartridge is still working, but will need to be replaced soon. Be sure to pick up a replacement cartridge from one of the distribution sites. If the light flashes red, the filter cartridge should be replaced. Do not run hot water through the filter! It will reduce effectiveness and it may damage the filter. If hot water has been run through your filter, replace the cartridge.

How do I get my blood tested for lead? My child's blood tested for lead?

Adults should get in touch with their primary care physicians to discuss blood lead level testing. If you do not have a primary care physician, call the Genesee County Health Department to schedule an appointment at 810-257-3445. Children under 7 can be tested for free at the Genesee County Health Department.

NOTE: blood testing results for lead will only show recent exposure - it will not show exposure to lead you or your child may have experienced more than a few months ago. If your test results show that you or your child have a high level of lead in your blood, follow up with your physician, and make sure that you are following the drinking and cooking recommendations. If your test results show that you or your child do not currently have a high level of lead in your blood, that's great - you are probably not currently being exposed to high levels of lead in your water. However, this may not have been the case in the past, so be sure to get regular checkups and follow nutritional guidelines for preventing negative effects of lead exposure.

How will what I eat help me if I have been exposed to lead?

Good nutrition can help limit the effects of exposure to lead, especially foods with high levels of vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Here is a link to a helpful resource from Michigan State University Extension regarding how to fight lead with nutrition:

Do I need to get my water tested?

It is very important to have your water tested, even if you are following all drinking and cooking recommendations, and even though the city is no longer using the Flint River as the primary drinking water source for residents. The instructions for taking a sample appear to be complex, but basically boil down to this: get a sample from a faucet you normally use for drinking or cooking, and one that you have used in the past 24 hours. Do not use the faucet for six hours before taking the sample, and do not run the water before filling the test kit. Open the test kit right under the faucet, and fill it up with the first water from the tap - cold water only! Be sure to complete the paperwork, and drop it off at any of the Community Water Resource Centers.

Is it safe to shower in unfiltered water?

At this time, It is considered safe for adults and older children to shower in unfiltered water. Use a bottled water rinse if you are having skin issues – to warm up the water for the rinse, put a couple of water bottles in the shower with you. 

NOTE: Our recommendation is to bathe babies and children <6 years old in bottled water only or use wipes.

I have a rash, or my child has a rash. What should I do? 

If anyone in your household is experiencing rashes, please visit with a doctor so that the doctor can help diagnose any conditions you may have and provide treatment. In addition, call 211 and report the rash to the individual who takes your call.