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The City of St. Clair Shores has 25,303 water customers. The City estimates that there are approximately 720 homes with lead service lines. In St. Clair Shores lead service lines are most commonly found in homes built between 1920 and 1950.
Sixty-two of those customers with known lead service lines were tested in the fall of 2020. Eight of the 62 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 is 18 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)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.
Lead Service Line Replacement Diagram
Source: MI Lead Safe
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.
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 has doubled 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. In 2020, the City replaced 100 lead service lines at a cost of $400,000. Replacement work will continue through 2021.
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.
Residents may call the DPW at 586-447-3305 to see if they qualify for a filter.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.
If your home has a lead service line, you can call the DPW at 586-447-3305 to be placed on a waiting list. 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:
A stormwater utility fee is similar to a water or sewer fee. In essence, customers pay a fee to convey stormwater from their properties. The utility is the result of unfunded United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) mandates that force cities like St. Clair Shores to manage stormwater within their jurisdiction. The fee is used to finance annual compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting standards. The NPDES is the compliance system for the Clean Water Act (CWA) and requires that all stormwater discharges that enter waters of the United States must meet minimum federal water quality requirements.
Stormwater begins as rain or snowmelt that flows over land rather than seeping into the ground. It flows over hard surfaces (impervious surfaces) such as roofs, driveways, and walkways, as well as pervious surfaces such as grass, gardens, and woodlands into the city’s combined sewer system. The more hard surface (impervious surface) on your property, the more stormwater runoff is contributed to the sewer system.
This drainage either flows into the same underground pipes as sewage and must be treated at the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) wastewater treatment plant before it can be released back into the environment or into Lake St. Clair through a separate storm water sewage system.
The City of St. Clair Shores is billed by the SESMD for the conveyance and treatment of combined sewage at GLWA.
Since 1993, the City has had a stormwater utility ordinance that requires property owners to pay a user fee related to the operation and maintenance of the City’s stormwater system. The current stormwater utility ordinance was developed on the basis of a 1992 Stormwater Utility Implementation Report prepared by McNamee, Porter & Seeley, Inc. This 1992 report is now 30 years old and has not been updated based on recent court rulings. The Michigan Supreme Court has since ruled on stormwater service charges, in particular as related to violating the “Bolt Criteria.” The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the stormwater service charge imposed by Lansing was unconstitutional and void on the basis that it was a tax for which voter approval was required and not a valid use fee. The Court established three criteria for distinguishing between a fee and a tax:1) a user fee must serve a regulatory purpose rather than a revenue-raising purpose2) a user fee must be proportionate to the necessary costs of the service; and3) a user fee must be voluntary--property owners must be able to refuse or limit their use of the commodity or service
The outcome of this study recommends the City adopt an updated methodology as a basis of billing for stormwater charges that meets the three aspects of the “Bolt Criteria”. This study has determined a methodology to assign all properties within the City their proportional share of the cost of service to capture, convey, and treat the stormwater that runs off each property and to meet the needs of the City’s stormwater regulatory obligations. The study recommends using the direct impervious vs. pervious surface area and total property area to determine the property’sdirect runoff potential. This entails an individual review of each residential lot, by size/zoning classification, and every non-residential property to calculate square feet of imperviousness for each parcel. Once PRP is initially determined, there are no zoning classifications or groups of properties. All calculations are based solely on impervious vs. pervious area and the particular benefit each property receives due to the stormwater system. Other general items that werelooked at which affect stormwater were topography, soils, property maintenance and access to stormwater facilities.
Accordingto Ordinance 35-013 14, the owner of riparian (waterfront) property is the onerequired to provide an adequate barrier, dike, or other embankments (includingsandbags) to protect against the rising water, the overflow of water and/orflooding.
The City can assist the property owner by providing locations to pick up sandbags and sand for residents to build a sandbag barrier on their property. The Army Corps of Engineers will provide recommendations regarding the construction and location of sandbag, crib, or berm placement on your property. To schedule an Army Corp consultation, please contact Ken Blankenship in the City’s Community Development Department (CDI) at 586-447-3362. No evaluation or opinion onseawall construction, placements, or height will be provided.
First, look at the Lake St. Clair Lake Level at Current Lake St. Clair Lake LevelSecond, measure the clearance from the water to the connected high ground on your property.Now keep in mind the Army Corps of Engineers forecast indicates the lake could go as high as 578.1 ft.
The Army Corps of Engineers recommends property owners on the canals provide adequate protection 18 inches above the current lake level. If your property is on the lake subject to wave action, then the recommendation is to provide 36 inches above the current lake level. If the lake level rises to 578.1, determine the high ground on your property that should be connected to achieve the recommended barrier.
If the rising waters and waves are going to potentially breach your seawall, berm, or any other waterfront barrier, "yes," you must sandbag your property. If not, then "no," you do not have to sandbag your property.
The City strongly advises residents to take into account the forecast levels and build an adequate sandbag barrier before high water occurs. It is much easier to install the barrier on dry ground.
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:
advise water customers of the results
provide tips on how to reduce lead exposure
increase community-wide sampling
Click here to get started. [Click here to get started.]
Residents may store their own recreation vehicles and recreation equipment on their own property for an indefinite period of time, provided the vehicles are in operable condition and can meet all other provisions of the city’s codes and ordinances. In short, Recreational Vehicles must be parked on a paved surface and meet setback requirements. Recreational vehicles shall be set back at least four (4) feet from any side lot line if the vehicles are located closer than six (6) feet to the main building on the site. If the vehicles are located more than six (6) feet from the main building, then the recreational vehicles shall be set back at least two (2) feet, six (6) inches from any side or rear lot line. For residents whose recreational vehicles cannot meet the setback and/or lot coverage requirements, their recreational vehicle may be stored up to forty-eight (48) hours prior to a planned trip, for loading purposes, and forty-eight (48) hours upon return from the same trip, for the purpose of unloading the recreational vehicle. In no event shall such recreational vehicles or equipment be stored more than ninety-six (96) hours in a seven (7) day period. A recreational vehicle or equipment parked or stored on a lot within the city shall not be connected to water, sanitary facilities, or electrical service, and shall not be occupied.