Free water filters to be distributed Friday
HEIGHTS — Changes in the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act resulted in a handful of houses in the city testing above the new standards for lead in water, the city announced Thursday.
About 175 of the city’s 22,000 residential water customers have lead pipes that connect to the city’s water main. Thirty of those were tested in August, and five tested above the new state standard of 15 parts per billion, triggering a public advisory and public education campaign by the city.
The homes tested at 34 ppb, which city officials said they expected due to the more stringent procedures for testing and analysis for lead and copper. In 2018, the MSDWA changed what is to be tested as well as the method. The exceedance is not a health-based standard nor a violation of the MSDWA, according to a city press release.
The city alerted all of its water customers regardless of service pipe composition and provided practical steps they can take to reduce the risk to lead exposure, particularly for those whose houses have lead service pipes.
“The intent is not to scare the public, but let them know the City is proactively working to test and address known lead service leads in the city and work with the state and with property owners who want to improve water quality in their homes,” Mayor Dan Paletko.
There will be more testing and an extensive public education campaign, he said.
The city set up a dedicated page on its website at http://www.ci.dearborn-heights.mi.us/residents/lead_testing.php that features information to further inform the public. The page includes steps the public can take to do home tests, as well as learn about further resources with the state of Michigan and Wayne County Health Division.
The WCHD distributed free water filters for economically disadvantaged residents who met state mandated thresholds at the Justice Center, 25637 Michigan Ave., Wednesday and Thursday. Filters will continue to be distributed from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday.
To qualify for a free filter, a household must have at least one of the following:
• A child under age 18 living there.
• A child under age 18 spending several hours every week at least 3 months of the year there.
• A pregnant woman living there.
The household also must have at least one of the following:
• Someone receiving WIC benefits or Medicaid insurance.
• Difficulty affording a filter and replacement cartridges. (Filters cost about $35 and replacement cartridges cost about $15.)
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (formally the MDEQ) is the state department that evaluates compliance with the action level of all lead and copper results collected in each round of sampling.
More information on their program can be accessed at www.michigan.gov/MILeadSafe.