FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Flint doing to fix its water infrastructure?

The City of Flint is making significant progress in a number of major water infrastructure projects. In 2021, at least three major infrastructure improvements are set for completion. The City is finishing work on the service line replacement project to get rid of lead pipes leading to Flint homes, building a secondary water supply pipeline and constructing a new water treatment chemical feed building. Already in 2021, the City of Flint has completed installation of five water quality monitoring panels that provide continuous analysis of the water quality throughout the City of Flint. 

How is all this work being paid for?

Flint received $100 million in federal funding available through the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN). The City of Flint also received more than $60 million to fund infrastructure improvement from the State of Michigan. Other dollars were allocated to benefit the residents of the City of Flint, but were not directly administered by the City of Flint. These funds also helped to expand education and health care opportunities as well as invest in long-term recovery needs.

What is Flint’s current water quality?

Flint’s water has tested well within state and federal standards for lead in drinking water since July 2016. The most recent results for Flint were 6 parts per billion (ppb) well below the federal action level of 15 ppb. Link to results page

How do I comment on a water infrastructure project?

Public comment will continue to be accepted by email at [email protected] or by mail at City of Flint – DPW, Water Public Comment, 1101 S. Saginaw St. Flint, MI  48502

Does the City of Flint still use the Flint River as a source of water? 

The City of Flint stopped using the Flint River as a source of water in October 2015. The City of Flint entered into a 30-year agreement in 2017 with the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) in Detroit to be its primary supplier of water. It uses water from Lake Huron. 

Why does Flint need a second water pipeline?

The City of Flint was required by state and federal mandates to develop a secondary source of water. Without the secondary water pipeline, Flint would not have a backup water supply. Without a secondary water source, if the City’s water supply from GLWA was ever disrupted, the City would find itself without water for drinking, sanitation, and firefighting in a matter of days. This actually happened in 2009 when the single supply line from Detroit was cut off and the City had to rely on Flint River water for several weeks.

Is a backup supply of water required as part of the EPA settlement?

Yes, a backup water supply is required under the Emergency Order that has been in place since 2016. The identification of a backup water supply is required under a Jan. 21, 2016 EPA order (amended Nov. 17, 2016) as well as the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act and the City of Flint’s agreement with GLWA.

Why was Genesee County picked to supply Flint with backup water?

The Genesee County Drain Commission operates a new (2017) water treatment plant using the same treatment technology that is used by GLWA in Detroit. Genesee County also serves most suburban cities and townships in Genesee County. 

Like GLWA, Genesee County’s water is drawn from Lake Huron and it is treated in a similar manner to that of GLWA. Based on this compatibility, Flint selected Genesee County to supply backup water from Lake Huron in the event of an emergency. The Flint City Council voted to contract with Genesee County for the supply of backup Lake Huron water on Nov. 22, 2017. The Council also voted to construct a pipeline connecting the Flint water treatment plant to the Genesee County Lake Huron water supply on May 11, 2020.

Does Flint use Detroit water?

Flint’s primary water supplier is the Great Lakes Water Authority, which is what the Detroit water system is now called. The water comes from Lake Huron. The City of Flint will use Genesee County water as a backup supply of water. Both GLWA and Genesee County get their water from Lake Huron. A small amount of water will run through the secondary water pipeline to keep it safe, reliable and fresh. This amounts to about 5% of the total volume in the Flint water system. 

Is Flint is rejoining Karegnondi?

No. Flint’s primary water supplier is GLWA.  The City has contracted with the Genesee County Drain Commission as a backup water supplier.

When will Flint’s lead service lines be replaced?

Flint is on track to replace the roughly 500 remaining lead service lines in the summer of 2021. For more on this project, see CityofFlint.com/GetTheLeadOut.

Why do I need to get a new water meter?

All household water meters throughout the City of Flint are being replaced to ensure that the meters are working correctly and that households are charged for actual water usage. Water meter replacement is mandatory for all City of Flint water customers. Because the old meters use antiquated and often malfunctioning technology, in many cases residents have been paying estimated water bills. Any resident that has not yet had their meter replaced should call today to ensure their meter is replaced while the service is still free. Call (810) 360-2272 to make an appointment with the City’s contractor, Vanguard Utility Services. 

It takes about 20 minutes for the water meter replacement. The meters are the Badger-LTE M model, which uses cell towers to transmit water meter readings. Mayor Sheldon Neeley also created the “New Meter New Start” program so that residents will not be charged large balloon payments for water usage before the new meters were installed (but had not been charged to residents because estimates were used). 

About a month after the new meter is installed, customers also have the option of downloading an app for their phone. Called “Eye on Water”, it provides up-to-the-minute water usage information and can alert residents to leaks. If residents have any questions or concerns, they can contact customer service at (810) 766-7015.

Do I still need a filter? 

Flint’s water continues to test the same as or better than similar cities across the state and country. The state is still recommending filters out of an abundance of caution, not knowing the full impact of service line replacement and broad excavation. Although the water coming into structures is stable, the plumbing and fixtures in older structures can be a problem, which is why more communities across the United States are finding filtered water to be a best practice.

If you need a water filter, replacement cartridge or test kit, please contact the City of Flint Health Navigators at (810) 410-2020.

What about the faucets and plumbing inside my home?

In addition to simple steps like cleaning faucet aerators and only using cold tap water for cooking, the state has many resources detailing how to avoid lead exposures in the home

What do I do if my water smells unusual or is discolored?

If you have a water emergency or issue with your service, please call (810) 766-7202 for water and 766-7079 for sewer. This line is monitored 24 hours a day to respond to problems.