Confusion surfaces following water main break

Without water for nearly a week, the faucets in Charles' home got an unexpected vacation. / Mike Horne

Water is our planet's most abundant natural resource...but don't tell that to Charles Waller.

"I go in the bathroom, ain't no water. I go in the kitchen, I ain't got no water. There's no water in the house," said the 76 year-old Flint resident.

And it been that way for nearly a full week. But despite repeated attempts to contact someone for help, the city Water Department's Utility Superintendent says that Charles made a mistake.

"He was calling and leaving messages on a...non-emergency line. Not with our, with the city of Flint, but not with this department," said Lyle Hippensteel.

It's a very easy mistake to make, but Charles' frustration stems from a Water Department employee who he claims gave him the run-around...telling him the following after Charles had originally filed his complaint late last week.

"'Well, you supposed to call the emergency number. We don't have no record of when you called.' I said, well I called this number...for the water department, and I told them what happened," said Charles. "I called them Friday, they told me I was on the list. So then when I talked to him, he's tellin' me that I ain't called!"

To avoid such confusion in the future, Lyle Hippensteel alerts everyone to the one phone number they need to know in order to avoid a situation such as Charles'.

"(810) 766-7202, and that will give you, that's for sewer or water. That's our emergency line," explained Hippensteel. "After four o'clock, that's answered and it gives you directions. It says if this is a sewer call dial this number. If it's a water call, leave your name, number and address, and we'll respond shortly. And I keep somebody on staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week."