91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

No matter what officials say, Flint resident won't drink or pay for "disgusting" water

Laura and Sean MacIntyre
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
Flint residents Laura and Sean MacIntyre stopped paying their water bills in 2016.

People in Flint who have been getting the state to help pay their water bills appear to be losing that help.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver met with Governor Snyder on Tuesday. She was unable to get him to budge from the decision to put an early end to the state-funded subsidy program that helped people pay for the water they can't safely drink without a filter.

The state announced an early end to the subsidies on Feb. 28, right after the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced lead levels in Flint's tap water had fallen below the federal limit.

Flint resident Laura MacIntyre joined Stateside to tell her first-hand story of what life is like in Flint.

She spoke with Stateside at the beginning of 2016 when many people in the city were refusing to pay their water bills.

During that last interview, MacIntyre was one of those who continued to pay her water bill. But since, that's changed.  

"The water is still disgusting. It smells bad, it's inconsistent. I'm really afraid of it, the kids are afraid of it."

“Things just weren’t moving,” MacIntyre said. “Nothing was getting done. We were being lied to again, the water was getting worse and none of the pipes were being replaced. And we were just being given filters as a solution to the problem without any change in the actual infrastructure." 

MacIntyre said the water in her home is so bad that she continues to use bottled water. She refuses to use filters because they only remove some of the contaminants.

“It’s terrible,” she said. "The water is still disgusting. It smells bad, it’s inconsistent. I’m really afraid of it, the kids are afraid of it. Our washing machine broke, our dishwasher broke … anything that had water go through it just ended up dying. There’s water streaming down our walls, all the pipes are falling apart. The toilets are falling apart. The sinks …we’re really concerned. You said that we can’t safely drink the water, but we’re concerned that we can’t safely bathe in the water."

State officials and the EPA have said that lead levels are currently below the federal action level, but MacIntyre said when she hears that, she becomes angry. She thinks officials have failed to do systematic testing for all of Flint's homes. She wants more testing done and doesn't trust the testing results from the EPA or the state.
Listen to the full interview above to learn what it would take for MacIntyre to start paying her water bills again and more.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunesGoogle Play, or with this RSS link)

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 9 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
Related Content