Should I use a filter? How does it work?
Yes. Using filtered water is important for drinking, food preparation, brushing teeth and pets.
It is important to run only cold water through the filter. You should also monitor the light on the filter and replace the cartridge when it is time.
- A red light means the filter's cartridge should be changed immediately.
- A green light means the filter is working.
- A yellow light means the filter is working, but you will need to change the cartridge soon. When the yellow light is on, you should pick up a new cartridge at a water resource site.
Unfiltered water may be used for bathing and cleaning. Under a consensus of local, state, federal and outside experts, water filters are effective in removing lead from water. All populations may now consume filtered water, including pregnant women and children under 6.
What are the recommendations for washing dishes?
Flint residents have been told not to run hot water through the filters. You may use unfiltered water to wash your dishes, this should allow residents to shift their filter aside and use hot water to clean dishes.
Should I test my water?
Yes, every Flint household can and should get their water tested. You can get a free at home water testing kit at the water resource locations. (Find them under Flint Water FAQs)
How do I test my water?
Click here to watch an instructional video
Step 1: Pick up a test kit from the water resource location.
Step 2: Fill out the water test form.
Step 3: Leave water jug near the sink you wish to test overnight.
Step 4: In the morning, before you use water in the house fill up the water jug.
Step 5: Use cold water. Fill the water jug almost to the top, leave about 2 inches for air at the top. Put the cap back on when filled.
Step 6: Take the water sample and the form back to the fire station.
Step 7: Check your results online. Click here for residential results.
Where can I find my water test results?
You can find your results under the "Residential Testing Results" tab on the Michigan.gov/flintwater website. Click here to see the latest results.
What do my test results mean?
The result will tell you how much lead and copper is in the water. If the result for Copper is "Not Detected", that means the amount of copper in the water was less than 50 ppb. If the result for Lead is “Not Detected”, that means the amount of lead in the water was less than 1 ppb.
If your Lead result is greater than 150 ppb OR your Copper result is greater than 1,300 ppm: Contact the Genesee County Health Department at (810) 257-3603 (if you have not already been contacted.) Use only bottled water for drinking, cooking and washing fruits and vegetables.
The federal action level for lead is 15 ppb
The federal action level for copper 1.3 ppm
No matter what your lead result is, you should continue to use an NSF certified filter until the Public Health Emergency Declaration has been lifted. Filtered or bottled water should be used for all drinking, cooking and washing of fruits and vegetables. Filtered or bottled water should also be used for children brushing their teeth and for watering pets.
For children younger than 6 years of age and pregnant women, use only bottled water to make formula, for drinking water, and to make any other food product.
What else can I do at home to stay safe?
Clean your faucet aerators weekly. Many taps have an aerator as part of the faucet assembly. Aerator screens are not intended to remove contaminants in the water, but may trap sediment or debris as water passes through the faucet. Lead-bearing sediment may end up in drinking water from physical corrosion of leaded solder and can build up in the aerator over time. EPA recommends Flint residents clean faucet aerators weekly.
Is it safe to bathe in the water?
Based on current scientific testing and guidance from local and federal partners, bathing is safe for children and adults served by the city of Flint water system.
Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services states: Given the most recent information available, we want to emphasize that it's okay for children and adults to bathe in Flint. Understandably, people in Flint are concerned about water quality issues. Our department is working closely with federal partners, experts in the field, and local doctors to monitor all health issues that may be related to water. At this time there is no evidence to suggest the guidance on bathing should change.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human skin does not absorb lead in water. If unfiltered tap water contains lead over EPA's action level, bathing and showering should be safe for children and adults even if the skin has minor cuts or scrapes. Children should not drink or rinse their mouths with bath or shower water.
MDHHS is collaborating with Genesee County Medical Society dermatologists who have volunteered to conduct free dermatological screening exams. Residents with concerns about rashes are encouraged to contact their primary care physician or United Way 2-1-1 to determine next steps in follow-up care.