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Lead found in Dearborn Heights water samples

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Lead levels exceeding state limits were found in water samples taken from Dearborn Heights homes.

According to the mayor's office, In August 2019, the City collected samples from 30 sites with known lead service leads out of approximately 22,000 residential water customers in the city. Of the 22,000 water customers there are approximately 0.8% (about 175 customers) with lead service leads. Five of the 30 targeted sites tested exceeded the Action Level of 15 ppb (parts per billion).

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy evaluates compliance with the Action Level based on the 90th percentile of all lead and copper results collected in each round of sampling.

"It is discouraging to, once again, see elevated lead levels in residents' tap water, but -- as I'm doing for other parts of my district -- I will continue to have discussions with the appropriate authorities on how best to help those affected by this issue," reads a statement from Sen. Betty Jean Alexander (D-Detroit).  "It is also important for people to understand that we are hearing more reports of lead being found in drinking water in cities across Michigan because newer, tougher standards are now being used to protect the public's health. Water advisories, like the most recent one issued in Dearborn Heights, remind us of how important it is for us to work together and make real investments to improving our aging infrastructure."

Alexander's office said the Wayne County Health Division will provide free water filters for economically disadvantaged residents of Dearborn Heights. For more information, call the Wayne County Public Health Division at 734-727-7400.

Meanwhile, the city of Dearborn Heights offers these recommended actions for residents to take to help reduce lead exposure:

  • Run your water to flush out lead-containing water.
    • 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 do have a lead service line, run the water for at least five minutes to flush water from the plumbing of your home and the lead service line.
  • Consider using a filter to reduce lead in drinking water.
    • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommends that any household with a child or pregnant woman use a certified lead filter to remove lead from their drinking water.
    • Look for filters that are tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction.
      • Be sure to maintain and replace the filter device in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions to protect water quality.
      • If your household has a child or pregnant woman and are not able to afford the cost of a lead filter, The Wayne County Health Division will provide water filters for economically disadvantaged members of the City who meet State mandated thresholds at the Dowdait Room at the Justice Center, 25637 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn Heights, 48125 on the following days:
        • Wednesday, October 23, 2019, from 2:00-6:00pm
        • Thursday, October 24, 2019, from 2:00-6:00pm
        • Friday, October 25, 2019, from 2:00-6:00pm
  • Use cold water for drinking, cooking, or preparing baby formula.
  • Do not boil your water as boiling 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.

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr.

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.