HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – Hundreds of residents in Highland Park lined up Thursday morning for water filters -- the first stage in coping with a newly discovered health hazard.
Residents in Highland Park are being urged to get their water tested for lead as soon as possible. The directive comes after a recent round of tests at 36 homes showed elevated lead levels in nine of them. Out of the 2,500 households that were offered free water testing in June, those 36 took the offer.
The city started offering free filters and bottled water Thursday. A line formed nearly an hour before they opened the doors.
Lifelong Highland Park resident Anthony Forsyth didn't just come for himself.
"You see my arms are full, that's because I'm here for two family flats," Forsyth said. "The problem is we're waiting in line in the sun, and I'm worried about the other elderly people and the buildings where people can't get out."
The city is also providing other information, such as when to flush tap water and for how long, and -- most importantly -- getting the blood checked of children under 6 years through the Wayne County Health Department.
Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp said it's not the only lead problem on their hands -- community has received money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to deal with lead-based paint.
The elevated lead levels have residents feeling conflicted about the inconvenience it's creating for their daily lives.
"It's upsetting," one resident said. "We should have known about this sooner. We don't know what damage it might have done to us. But I'm glad they got it taken care of and I got what I needed for the time being."
The Highland Park Summer Youth Program is volunteering, helping the fire department with the filter distribution.
The state is providing the filters free of charge, and the fire department will have them available for Highland Park residents Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you live in Highland Park and want your tap water tested, call 313-865-1876.