July 31, 2017 - In an effort to identify any potential health effects from lead piping in the water main system, the City of Romulus has developed a program of investigating the piping material of residential service lines during water main construction to remove any lead in the City lines and providing homeowners an opportunity to use the City’s contractor to remove the lead service line of the homeowner. The program has been very successful and a majority of the residents take advantage of the reduced pricing and proceed with removal of their private service line.
When homeowners choose not to remove their lead service lines, testing is conducted to ensure the lead residual in the water is below the established EPA Action Level of 15 parts per billion (ppb). In June of 2017, the City tested one vacant home in the northeast corner of the City whose owner decided not to remove their private lead water service line. At this address, laboratory test results showed that this home had lead residuals of 120 parts per billion (ppb) which is considerably higher than the EPA threshold.
The City also conducted seven other routine lead and copper monitoring samples elsewhere in the City, all of which have been analyzed at the Great Lakes Water Authority’s laboratory, and show that the results in the water distribution system are all below the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Action Level.
Romulus receives water from the Great Lakes Water Authority, and treatment of the water has been very successful at mitigating lead leaching from plumbing. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality assesses the effectiveness of the corrosion control measures based on the 90th percentile of all lead and copper results collected between June and September.
The lead 90th percentile for the city of Romulus is 41.6 ppb, which exceeds the Action Level of 15 ppb. The Action Level is not a health based standard, but a level that triggers additional investigative sampling of our water quality and requires educational outreach to our customers.
Even though only one location was over 15 ppb out of eight samples collected within the city, lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources, so we’d like to share some ways you can reduce your exposure to lead in your water.
The most important things you can do to reduce your exposure to lead is to always use your cold water tap for drinking, cooking or preparing baby formula and let the water run for 30 seconds to two minutes, per EPA recommendations, or until it becomes cold. Do not boil your water. Boiling will not reduce the amount of lead in the water.
Over the next year, City officials will conduct additional monitoring of the residential water supply using 120 samples collected throughout the system. Officials believe the results will show that the high lead levels were isolated to the one vacant home on the northeast corner of the City as a result of their individual water service line being disturbed during construction.
Additional information regarding lead in water can be found at the City’s website www.romulusgov.com, on the Department of Public Works page http://www.romulusgov.com/departments/public_services/public_works/, and at the MDEQ website www.michigan.gov/deqleadpublicadvisory. To view the City’s most recent water quality report, please visit www.romulusgov.com/ccr.
Any questions regarding water quality can be addressed by the Director of Public Works Office by calling (734) 942-7579.