Jun 11, 2023

Lead found in water at Three Rivers homes exceeding action level

City of Three Rivers, Michigan. Joel Bissell |

THREE RIVERS, MI -- Lead has been found in samples of residential tap water exceeding the action level, the city of Three Rivers said.

The city recently collected samples from 47 homes. Six homes had results over 15 parts per billion (ppb) of lead in the water.

The lead concentration found in the 90th percentile for the city’s water supply is 19 ppb, which exceeds the Action Level of 15 ppb. To meet the state’s requirements of the Lead and Copper Rule, 90% of the samples collected must be below the action level.

An “Action Level Exceedance” means that more than 10% of the homes tested have results over 15 ppb. The exceedance triggers additional actions, including educational outreach to customers, ongoing sampling every six months, assessing the corrosivity of the water and service line replacement.

The “Action Level” is a measure of corrosion control effectiveness; it is not a health-based standard. The goal for lead in drinking water is 0 ppb. There is no safe level of lead in the blood, the city said.

The city of Three Rivers has tested tap water in homes for lead and copper in accordance with the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act since 1992. In 2018, the Michigan Lead and Copper Rule was changed to better protect your health. New rules regarding sample site selection and sampling methodology have been added to better detect possible lead, the city said.

The new sampling method was expected to result in higher lead results, not because the water source or quality for residents has changed, but because the act has more stringent sampling procedures, the city said.

Lead can enter drinking water when in contact with pipes, solder, home/building interior plumbing, fittings and fixtures that contain lead. Homes with lead service lines have an increased risk of having high lead levels in drinking water.

The more time water has been sitting in residential pipes, the more lead it may contain. Therefore, if the water has not been used for several hours, run the water before using it for drinking or cooking. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes. Additional flushing may be required for homes that have been vacant or have a longer service line.

The city of Three Rivers will soon send out a comprehensive public education document about lead in drinking water. The city will be collecting at least 40 samples every six months and reviewing the results to determine if corrective actions are necessary to reduce corrosion in household plumbing.

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