White Lake Township and state officials led a public information meeting a week after triggering an action advisory for having high levels of lead in drinking water.
Two years ago White Lake Township moved to a two district distribution service for water service. On October 3rd, the township received notification of exceeding levels of lead at 3 sites of the 20 tested in district 2, which primarily serves south of Elizabeth Lake Road. The levels of lead exceeded 15 parts per billion, which is the state limit for triggering the advisory. Township Supervisor Rick Kowell told the crowd that this was not a health advisory, but action advisory, warning that there could potentially be a problem. Their public advisory draft was both approved by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy, or EGLE, and sent to residents the following day.
On Thursday night, Director for the White Lake Township DPS Aaron Potter, and lead and copper expert for EGLE, Brandon Onan, led a presentation and fielded questions at Lakeland High School from approximately 100 residents.
Houses said to be at risk are ones built before 1988. The township has no lead service lines leading into mains, but building code before 1988 allowed lead solder in copper pipes. Water standing in these pipes could potentially corrode the solder, collecting lead. Officials said this was likely the reason for the high levels. There has been no lead detected in any of the township’s source water wells. In recent years, the township has been adding a phosphate to the water that creates a seal between the water and the pipe, lowering the levels of corrosion. Potter said further testing will show if these levels of phosphate need to be adjusted. They will retest the original 3 sites that failed, and publish the results for transparency. The township will also be testing 40 sites in district 2 every six months. If deemed necessary, they will increase the corrosion control dose.
Officials are advising precautions to homeowners who may be at risk. This includes any home with brass faucets, particularly those manufactured before 2014 when higher levels of lead were acceptable in brass. The most effective method is running the water to flush out any potential lead before drinking, cooking with, or preparing baby formula. Use cold water for these as hot water could heat up the metal and allow corrosion. Boiling water will not reduce the levels of lead. They also recommend using NSF Standard 53 filters.
White Lake Township water residents can call the DPS at (248) 698-3300 ext. 171 or visit the township’s website to have their service line, or water inspected. Learn more on EGLE’s website, at www.michigan.gov/deqleadpublicadvisory or www.michigan.gov/mileadsafe. (MK)