Elevated lead levels in service pipes found in 4 St. Clair Shores homes

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Recent testing of St. Clair Shores homes with lead service lines found four sites have elevated lead levels, city officials announced Monday.

The Macomb County community targeted 32 locations with lead lines, and of those, four exceeded the action level of 15 parts per billion, officials said in a statement. Based on how 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, the lead 90th percentile for the St. Clair Shores water supply is ­­21 parts per billion, according to the release. 

The city, which has been testing tap water in homes with lead service lines since 1992, has 25,303 water customers, and 656 of those have lead service lines.

The city, which has tested tap water in homes with lead service lines since 1992, has 25,303 water customers, and 656 of those have lead service lines, according to the release.

"This does not mean that every customer has elevated lead levels," the city said. "An Action Level exceedance means that more than 10% of the samples tested under the new testing method have elevated lead levels. The Action Level exceedance in the city’s sampling was found in water that had been sitting in the lead material or galvanized material service line pipe overnight."

The city is providing free faucet filters or pitcher filters to any water customer verified to have lead service lines in their home.

Officials have also scheduled an open house and distribution for 4-8 p.m. Thursday at the St. Clair Shores Senior Activity Center, 20000 Stephens.

The faucet filters or pitcher filters are available to residents who meet the following qualifications:

• Have a child under 18 living at the address

• Have a pregnant woman living at the address

• Have a child under 18 who is cared for by a resident there at least several days per week for a few hours daily over three or more months each year

• Has someone receiving WIC benefits or Medicaid insurance living at the home

• Can’t afford a filter and replacement cartridges (filters cost about $35 and replacement filters cost about $15)

Residents also can meet with representatives from the Macomb Health Department, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the city of St. Clair Shores to discuss lead-related health concerns. 

“Although less than 3 percent of our water customers are affected, we want to be proactive and alert all of our water customers — whether their house has lead service lines or not — to be vigilant and take steps to reduce the risk of any lead exposure,” Mayor Kip Walby said in a statement. “We will continue testing and provide our citizens with information and public education about lead in drinking water and what we as water consumers can do to minimize the risk in our own homes.”

Starting in 2020, St. Clair Shores plans to begin replacing lead service lines at a rate of 7% per year.

The mayor and City Council will review proposals to expedite the replacement.

For information, go to https://www.scsmi.net/892/SCS-Lead-Safe.