The Cleanup of Flint's Pipes Has Begun, But What Do We Do Now?

In April 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan switched its main source of fresh water from Lake Huron to the Flint River. This switch, intended to save the city millions of dollars, would end up causing a shortage of drinking water that continues to this day.

The Flint River is much more acidic than the previous source, and this began the process of corrosion on the city's system of lead pipes. As the pipes corroded, the lead leeched into the water, turning it a murky brown and creating a major public health issue. The water was no longer safe to use for drinking, cooking, or bathing. In 21st century America, an entire population found themselves without a drop to drink.

After years of inaction by local, state, and federal government, campaigning by people both in and outside of Flint, and not least of all one special little girl, have all finally led to the cleanup process beginning within the city's system. While the city's water is now considered legally safe to drink, this is only true of the replaced pipes, which are mostly city-operated service lines. Pipes inside older houses, apartment buildings, and other dwellings still have lead pipes that need replacing, and they can render the water undrinkable for many of Flint's residents, especially those who are unable to afford to have a full gutting and replacement of their home's plumbing system. So what can we, outside of and far away from Flint, Michigan, do to help?


                                                                                           (Image credit: Michigan Radio)

This can be anything from money, time, or bottles of water. As Flint has received less coverage in the news as of late, donations have begun to dwindle, because as we all know, the public tends to have an out of sight, out of mind mentality. Many of the point-of-distribution (PODs) water centers were closed on April 6, 2018, but many of the pipes in homes still need a relatively expensive (anywhere from $2000-3400) plumbing replacement. In addition to this, the residents of Flint have little trust in the water, even if it has been determined safe to drink by the Michigan state government. "Flint residents fear that Michigan may shirk its responsibility to make long-term, expensive fixes, and that the world now has permission to stop paying attention to their ongoing water problems," says Cedric Taylor, creator of the documentary "Nor Any Drop To Drink: The Flint Water Crisis."

To donate water bottles: 

All Pallets and Cases of Water over 100: Food Bank of Eastern Michigan Address: 2300 Lapeer Rd, Flint, MI 48503 Call: (810) 239-4441 ask for Tina Martinez, Director of Operations to schedule a delivery

Loose water, cases, and pallets of any size are welcome. Weekdays: Catholic Charities  Address: 901 Chippewa St, Flint, MI 48503 Call: (810) 232-9950 to make arrangements for delivery


To make a monetary donation:

Financial contributions, to help with the purchase and distribution of bottled water, can be made to the Flint Water Fund at the United Way of Genesee County by visiting Once on the home page Click the DONATE button at the top.