Higher lead levels in Wayne tap water prompt need for more testing

City of Wayne to ramp up tap water testing after lead levels exceed state’s ‘action level’

Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

WAYNE, Mich. – Unsatisfactory lead levels have been discovered in the tap water in the city of Wayne during routine testing, prompting the city to increase sampling at more locations.

Wayne officials announced Tuesday that routine tap water testing for lead and copper has uncovered substandard lead levels at residents’ homes.

Officials say tap water was recently collected from 30 homes in the city and tested for lead and copper. Of the 30 homes, five were found to have lead levels of 16 parts per billion (ppb). Under Michigan’s Safe Drinking Water Act, 90% of samples collected must fall below 15 ppb, which is considered the “action level.” This level is not a health-based standard, but rather requires authorities to take action to measure corrosion control effectiveness, according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

Water sampling in the city of Wayne measured lead at 14 ppb in 2019, and 12 ppb in 2020.

The city of Wayne will reportedly be taking several steps while under the action level, including ramping up “investigative sampling of water quality.” Residents who would like their water to be tested for free can call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ drinking water hotline at 844-934-1315.

Steps to prevent lead exposure from tap water

Though the action level is not a health-based standard, the ultimate goal is to have 0 ppb lead in tap water. It is not safe to have any levels of lead in the blood, and EGLE says that it is estimated that “drinking water can make up 20 percent or more of a person’s potential exposure to lead.”

City officials are encouraging Wayne residents, especially those with lead service lines -- approximately 400 customers -- to flush their pipes before using tap water to drink or prepare food to help limit lead exposure. Customers with lead service lines are encouraged to run their water for at least five minutes to flush water from the plumbing. Those without lead service lines should run the water for 30 seconds to two minutes.

To help limit one’s exposure to lead through tap water, do no use hot water for drinking, preparing food or preparing baby formula. Boiling water does not reduce the amount of lead in the water.

There are several ways that lead can enter your drinking water.

Learn more about lead and how to prevent lead exposure from tap water on EGLE’s website here.

See the full announcement from the city of Wayne below.

More news: 1 person killed when pickup truck barrels into woods off US 23 in Washtenaw County

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.