Wayne residents are being warned not to drink the water from residential taps in the city and avoid using it for cooking, preparing food or preparing baby formula.
City officials issued the warning last Tuesday noting that testing for lead and copper in tap water in Wayne showed an elevated level of lead. The testing, according to officials, was routine and included tap water collected from 30 homes in the city. Elevated levels of lead at 16 parts per billion were found in five of the water samples tested. According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) any level of lead in drinking water is unsafe as “drinking water can make up to 20 percent or more of a person's potential exposure to lead.”
Residents affected by lead service lines in the city are being told to flush the residential pipes before using tap water to drink or prepare food. Water customers in the city are encouraged to run the water for at least five minutes to flush water from the plumbing pipes. Those without lead service lines are warned to run the water for 30 seconds to two minutes to clear the harmful substance from the pipes. Of the approximately 5,950 customers in the city, 6.75 percent or about 400 customers have lead service lines, according to an official statement from the city.
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 delivery pipes, the more lead it may contain.
State experts warned that boiling tap water does not reduce or eliminate lead. State law requires that 90 percent of samples collected in the required annual testing fall below 15 parts per billion, considered the action level by municipal officials.
The results require the city to measure corrosion control effectiveness in the water distribution system, according to EGLE officials. Sampling in the City of Wayne showed 14 parts per billion in 2019 and 12 parts per billion in 2020.
Wayne officials have authorized an “investigative sampling of water quality” in response to the report. Free testing for lead in home water is available from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services drinking water hotline at (844) 934-1315. Residents who wish to have their blood tested for lead levels should contact their health care provider or make an appointment with the Wayne County Health Department clinic at (734) 727-7100.
Wayne residents have been advised to clean the faucet aerator in taps to remove any trapped debris and to use a water filter designed to clear lead. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends that any household with a child or pregnant woman use cold water and a certified lead filter to remove lead from their drinking water, especially when preparing baby formula. The Wayne County Health Department will provide free lead water filters to homes with a child or pregnant woman if the household cannot afford one.
These filters will be available at a drive through pick-up from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23 at the City of Wayne DPW at 35200 Forest Ave. Social distancing will be practiced, face masks are required, and all recipients will be asked to remain in their vehicles during pick-up.
For additional questions about the elevated lead levels, leave a message with your name, address and phone number at Wayne DPW, (734) 721-8600 for a return call.