Elevated Lead Levels Found In Royal Oak Drinking Water

WWJ News
October 29, 2019 - 9:46 am

ROYAL OAK (WWJ) - Officials in Royal Oak are alerting residents after elevated levels of lead were found in the city's drinking water.

The city sampled water from 30 homes served by lead service lines in the summer of 2019 and test results indicate that eight locations have lead levels higher than the federal safety level of 15 parts per billion.

Out of 23,741 total service connections, the city estimates six percent (approximately 1,400 services) have lead or lead-containing materials.

The city has created a special website, romi.gov/leadtesting, that includes information on how residents can check their water service lines and determine what material it is constructed of. The city also has a hotline -- 248-246-3999 -- to listen to concerns and answer questions regarding this issue.

Officials note the "Action Level" is not a health-based standard but a measure of corrosion control effectiveness. The higher lead results also don't necessarily indicate the water source or quality for residents has changed. Updated regulations require more stringent sampling procedures and analysis, which can lead to higher lead results.

"Releasing a public advisory is intended to begin a conversation with all our water customers so they can make educated choices based on factors present in their homes," Interim City Manager David Gillam said in a statement. "The public advisory is not meant to scare our residents. We do not have a drinking water crisis in Royal Oak, but we do want to work with any residents who want to improve water quality in their homes."

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 your home’s pipes, the more lead it may contain. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommends that any household with an infant, young child, or pregnant woman use a certified lead filter to remove lead from their drinking water.

Some recommended actions to help reduce lead exposure:

  • Run your water to flush out lead-containing water.
    • If you do not have a lead service line, run the water for 30 seconds to two minutes, or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature.
    • If you do have a lead service line, run the water for at least five minutes to flush water from the plumbing of your home and the lead service line.
  • Consider using a filter to reduce lead in drinking water.
    • Look for filters that are tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction.
    • Be sure to maintain and replace the filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality.
  • Use cold water for drinking, cooking, or preparing baby formula.
  • Do not boil your water as boiling will not reduce the amount of lead in water.
  • Clean your faucet aerator to remove trapped debris.