PUBLIC ADVISORY FOR DRINKING WATER CUSTOMERS
IN THE CITY OF ST. CLAIR SHORES
In 2018, the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule was changed to better detect possible lead in drinking water. These changes require all communities with lead service lines to increase sampling locations and draw multiple samples from each location. This new sampling method is expected to result in higher lead results, not because the water source or quality for residents has changed, but because of the more stringent sampling procedures and analysis.
The City of St. Clair Shores has been conducting testing of tap water in homes with lead service lines for lead and copper following this Act since 1992.
In the fall of 2020, the City collected samples from 62 sites with known lead service lines out of approximately 26,369 total water customers in the City. Of the 26,369 water customers, there are approximately 2.7% (roughly 720 customers) with lead service lines. Results showed that 8 of the 62 targeted sites tested exceeded the 15 ppb (parts per billion) Action Level. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) evaluates compliance with the Action Level based on the 90th percentile of all lead and copper results collected in each round of sampling. As a result of testing under this new method, the lead 90th percentile for the City of St. Clair Shores water supply was 18 ppb. Below is a table of information about each round of sampling over the last two years.
The results do not mean that every customer has elevated lead levels. An Action Level exceedance means that more than 10% of the samples tested under the new testing method have elevated lead levels. An Action Level exceedance in our sampling was found in the water that had been sitting in the lead material or galvanized material service line pipe overnight. The City had eight (8) of the targeted 62 sites with known lead service lines report elevated lead levels. The City contacted the homeowners with elevated lead levels and provided them with their sampling results. The City also has provided faucet filters or pitcher filters to any water customer verified to have lead service lines in their home.
The “Action Level” is not a health-based standard. It is a level that triggers additional actions, including, but not limited to, increased investigative sampling of water quality and educational outreach to customers. The goal for lead in drinking water is 0 ppb; there is no safe level of lead in in the blood. These results are not a violation of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.
The City of St. Clair Shores is currently working to replace the 720 lead service lines in our City. Through the end of 2020 the City has replaced approximately 100 lead service lines. If you have a lead service line please fill out and send to the DPW the Water Service Replacement Agreement form so that your LSL can be scheduled to be replaced.
Residents may receive a complimentary water filter by calling the DPW at (586) 447-3305 Monday-Friday 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The state will provide complimentary faucet filters or pitcher filters to citizens who meet the following State-mandated qualifications:
- A child under 18 lives at the address.
- A child under 18 frequently spends time at the address.
- A pregnant woman lives at the address.
- A person receiving WIC benefits or Medicaid insurance lives at the address.
- A person can’t afford a filter and replacement cartridges.
Although the results of the fall 2020 sampling are site-specific and can vary between homes, the City of St. Clair Shores would like to share some recommended actions that our residents can take to reduce exposure to lead.
Lead can enter drinking water when in contact with older pipes, solder, interior plumbing, and older fittings and fixtures that contain lead, particularly when the water has remained still or stagnated for extended periods. See the diagram below:
You can follow these tips to help reduce exposure to lead:
- RUN YOUR WATER TO FLUSH OUT LEAD-CONTAINING WATER
- The more time water has been sitting in your home’s pipes, the more lead it may contain. Therefore, if your water has not been used for several hours, run the water before using it for drinking or cooking. This method flushes stagnant water from the pipes. Additional flushing may be required for homes that have been vacant or have a longer service line to the house.
- Use the following procedure as a guide:
- If you do not have a lead service line, run the water for 30 seconds to two minutes, or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature.
- If you have a lead service line, run the water for at least five minutes to flush water from your home of the building’s plumbing and the lead service line.
- CONSIDER USING A FILTER TO REDUCE LEAD IN DRINKING WATER.
- Look for filters that are tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has a flyer for PUR filters and Brita filters.
- Everyone can consider using a filter to reduce lead in drinking water. The MDHHS recommends that any household with a child or pregnant woman use cold water and a certified lead filter to remove lead from their drinking water, especially when preparing baby formula.
- For filters to work properly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Use only cold water for drinking & cooking.
- Do not boil your water. It will not reduce the amount of lead in water.
- Clean your faucet aerator to remove trapped debris.
- Check whether your home has a lead service line. If you are unsure whether a lead service line services your home, you can take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/H7NQBSC.
- HAVE YOUR WATER TESTED FOR LEAD
- The Michigan EGLE publishes a list of state laboratories that are certified for lead testing at the following site.
If you are operating a food establishment such as a store, restaurant, bar, or food manufacturing establishment please visit www.michigan.gov/mdardleadinfo for specific information for food firms.
The City of St. Clair Shores has provided additional informational resources as part of a comprehensive public education campaign that can be found on the City of St. Clair Shores’ website at https://www.scsmi.net/892/SCS-Lead-Safe or at the EGLE website at http://www.michigan.gov/MILeadSafe or at the Macomb County website at health.macombgov.org.
The City of St. Clair Shores takes issues of water quality very seriously. Our water supplier, the Great Lake Water Authority (GLWA) tests our water following the Safe Drinking Water Act. If you are interested in learning more about our drinking water, the St. Clair Shores Annual Drinking Water report is available online on the City’s website at Water-Quality-Report-2020 (scsmi.net).