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National Public Radio (NPR) has developed a website that allows you to determine whether your drinking water is at risk in a few simple steps.
We are asking residents to use the tool and report the results to the City of St. Clair Shores Water Department.
Click here to get started. After the lead service is verified, the City will contact the homeowner about a water filter.
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The City of St. Clair Shores has 25,303 water customers. The City estimates that there are approximately 650 homes with lead service lines. In St. Clair Shores lead service lines are most commonly found in homes built between 1920 and 1950.
32 of those customers with known lead service lines were tested during September 2019. 4 of the 32 locations tested exceeded the 15 parts-per-billion (ppb) “Action Level” threshold, triggering the current Public Advisory. The city’s 90th percentile value for lead concentrations among sites tested was 21 ppb. The testing results shown that the “Action Level” exceedances were from samples taken from the lead water service lines.
Per the Lead and Copper Rule of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, the city is required to periodically sample a number of water taps throughout its system for lead concentration levels. In 2018, the sampling protocol for this routine sampling changed to require multiple samples at each sample location and to exclusively target locations served by lead water service lines. The intention of this change was to better detect lead.
According to the rule, if approximately 10% of sites sampled (90th percentile) indicate lead concentrations of 15 ppb or greater, the city is required to:
Lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. In homes with lead pipes that connect the home to the water main, also known as lead services lines, these pipes are typically the most significant source of lead in the water. Among homes without lead service lines, the most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and plumbing with lead solder.
Source: EPA Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water
The State of Michigan recommends the following ways to protect yourself from lead water:
Flush your pipes before using your water.If you have not used your water for several hours, flushing your pipes may reduce the amount of soluble (dissolved) lead in your drinking water.
To flush the pipes in your home, do any of the following for at least five minutes:Turn a faucet on all the way.Take a shower.Run a load of laundry.Run your dishwasher.After flushing your home’s water, run the water from individual faucets on cold for 1-2 minutes before using the water for drinking or cooking.
Using a filter can reduce lead in drinking water.Both particulate and soluble lead can be safely removed from drinking water by using a water filter certified to reduce lead in drinking water. Look for filters that are tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the filter and maintain it. For help choosing a filter, use the EPA Guidance Tool .Use cold filtered or flushed water for:Drinking, cooking, or rinsing food.Mixing powdered infant formula.Brushing your teeth.
Do not use hot water for drinking or cooking.Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Lead dissolves more easily into hot water.
Clean your aerator.Aerators (the mesh screens on your sink faucet) can trap pieces of particulate lead.Clean your drinking water faucet aerator at least every 6 months.If there is construction or repairs to the public water system or pipes near your home, clean your drinking water faucet aerator every month until the work is done.Replace plumbing, pipes, and faucets that may add lead into your drinking water.Older faucets, fittings, and valves sold before 2014 may contain up to 8 percent lead, even if marked “lead-free.” Replace faucets with products manufactured in 2014 or later and are certified to contain 0.25% lead or less.Guidance for reducing potential lead exposure from drinking water (English & Spanish)Source: MI Lead SafeReplace water service lines made of lead material.A water service line is the pipe that connects a home to the water main. In St. Clair Shores homeowners are responsible for the curb stop (at most homes this is in the front yard near the sidewalk) and the service line (under the front yard) and in to the home. Many homes built prior to 1950 were constructed with lead water service lines between the curb stop box and the water meter within the home or in a meter pit. A diagram showing the configuration and ownership of the water service line can be found here. A diagram showing the configuration and ownership of the water service line can be found hereSource: Great Lakes Water Authority
Lead exposure could cause a variety of health effects depending on the amount of lead and the length of time and age of the person exposed to lead. Young children are more susceptible to toxic effects of lead, which can cause behavioral issues, learning disability, abdominal pain and growth retardation.
Lead poisoning occurs when lead enters the bloodstream and builds up to toxic levels. Many different factors such as the source of exposure, length of exposure, and underlying susceptibility (e.g., child’s age, nutritional status, and genetics) affect how the body handles foreign substances.
The Macomb County Health Department recommends you get your child tested for lead. A simple blood test can detect lead. Consult with your healthcare provider for advice on blood lead testing.
Source: Macomb County Health Department
The City has multiple strategies for working on this issue, which include:
Sharing information. Through this advisory and other community engagement efforts, the City is committed to sharing information that can help residents understand sources of lead in tap water, its potential health effects, and how to reduce exposure to it.Increasing sampling. The City will double its community sampling efforts over the next year in order to provide additional information to the state.Locating lead. In order to build an accurate inventory of lead water service lines, the St. Clair Shores Water Department is encouraging homeowners to report their water service line materials through the Water Service Line Report.
Filters. The Macomb County Health Department and the City of St. Clair Shores are providing filters to qualified residents. See “How do I get a drinking water lead filter?” for a further explanation.Removing lead. Starting next year, the City will begin replacing lead service lines at a rate of 7% per year. The Mayor and City Council will also review proposals to expedite the replacement of the lead service lines.
The Macomb County Health Department is providing water filters to any residential household (regardless of service line material type) in the City of St. Clair Shores that has a child or pregnant woman and are not able to afford the cost of a lead filter.The City of St. Clair Shores is providing water filters to residential homes that are verified to have a lead service line. First residents must complete at Water Service Line Report that includes a picture of the water service line at the point it enters the home. Once completed and the material type is verified by the Water Department the resident may pick-up a lead filter at the Department of Public Works, 19700 Pleasant St., St. Clair Shores, MI 48080. Only 1 lead filter per household will be provided.Drinking water lead filters can be purchased at your local retailer. Click this flyer to make sure you purchase a lead filter that will provide the protection you want.
You cannot see, smell, or taste lead in drinking water. If you suspect that your home’s plumbing or faucets could contain lead or lead-based solder, you should have your water tested. Testing your water for lead is the only way to know if it is there. The State of Michigan has a list of laboratories certified for Lead & Copper Testing. Click here for the list. Contact a testing lab before having your water tested to confirm that they can test for lead, and obtain specific instructions for how you will collect, store, and transport the sample(s) you get from your home. There is a cost for having drinking water tested.The City of St. Clair Shores is a municipal water system and our drinking water is tested for lead and other potential contaminants. Testing results and other information on our drinking water system are made available to our residents annually in the St. Clair Shores Water Quality Report. You can also obtain a paper copy of the report at the Department of Public Works located at 19700 Pleasant St., St. Clair Shores, MI 48080.
The State of Michigan has a website called Mi Lead Safe that includes many resources including:
Learn more at ww.michigan.gov/mileadsafe
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has detailed information to help you understand certification marks as well as terminology regarding drinking water filters. Click here for this flyer.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has this flyer for PUR filters and this flyer for Brita filters that explains how to install, use and maintain your water faucet filter.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has this flyer that explains what an aerator does and steps you can take to help keep it clean.
The Water Department already has a list of sampling locations it uses for compliance testing. To the extent possible, the sampling rules require the city to resample previous sites during each monitoring period. Therefore, the department is limited in its ability to add additional locations.
By submitting your Water Service Line Report service line inspection results on the City’s website, you’ll be added to our records. Should additional sites be needed for testing, staff will seek volunteers from this list.
To determine if your home has a lead water service line please go to: SCS Lead Safe webpage
For more detailed information on Lead contamination please visit: