Ferndale Gives Updates on Water Testing, Reducing Lead Exposure

Ferndale Gives Updates on Water Testing, Reducing Lead Exposure

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 27, 2020)

Ferndale, MI – Ferndale City Council and over 100 Zoom participants heard from experts Monday in regards to the city’s recent high lead level test results.

The City recently announced that test results from five homes in the most recent sampling had lead above the action level established by the state.  The homes were among those known to have lead service lines which carry water into homes.  The test results mean that the City must do additional testing and implement a program to replace known lead lines.

At Monday’s council meeting representatives from Michigan Department of Environments, Great Lakes, and Energy, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services joined Dan Antosik of the Ferndale DPW to go over information previously shared in the announcement by the city, as well to answer questions from council members and the public.

They reiterated that the water coming to the homes is lead-free. The problem is lead in service lines leading to the house, or plumbing and fixtures in the house, leeching into the water as it sits.  The longer water has been sitting, the more likely it is to contain lead.

Lead is harmful to humans, particularly to developing children and pregnant women.  There is no acceptable level of lead from a health standpoint.  From a governmental standpoint, 15ppm is the level which triggers the increased action.  Not only are lead line replacements required, the city must also do increased testing.

The plan is to replace 7% of the lines each year.  There are approximately 3,000 known lead lines in the city.  Homes built before 1988 have the potential for lead in their lines, which can come from the metal, the coating on the pipes, or the soldering. Lead can also come from interior plumbing and fixtures.

Ferndale is not alone.  Birmingham, Oak Park, White Lake and other cities  tested above the action level last year.

Residents can take the following actions to be more informed and better protect their health:

~Before using water first thing in the morning, flush the line by running the water for five minutes.

~When using a faucet for the first time each day, run the water until it comes out cold to flush water from the lines inside your home.

~When cooking or making hot beverages, always use cold water from the faucet and heat it on the stove, rather than using hot water.

~If you’d like to know if your house has lead lines, contact Ferndale DPW at 248-546-2519

~If you’d like to voluntarily be part of the testing program, contact Ferndale DPW at 248-546-2519.

~If you would like to test your own water, bottles may be ordered through the Oakland County Health Department.  Once you bottle water per the instructions, it can be returned to the county to run the test.

~Clean your faucet aerator to remove trapped debris. The aerator is a little screen that usually twists off where the water comes out of the faucet.

~Use a water filter that is certified to remove lead.

If your household has a child or pregnant woman or if you are not able to afford the cost of a lead filter, you qualify for a free filter. The Oakland County Health Department will be on site at the Kulick Community Center on October 28 between 3-6 p.m. distributing free filters. After that, filters will be available through DPW.

For more information, contact the Oakland County Health Division at 248-858-1280. Health related questions can be directed to the Oakland County Nurse on Call at (800) 848-5533 or NOC@oakgov.com.

Previous Stories

Ferndale to do Increased Testing, Lead Line Replacement, and Offer Filters After Lead Test Results (Oct. 21, 2020)

What’s Next in Birmingham and White Lake Following Lead Test Results (Oct. 7, 2019)

Health and Cost Considerations in Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Changes (April 2, 2018)

 

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