Michigan community becomes second city in October to report unsafe lead levels in water

In less than two weeks, another Michigan city is currently struggling with high levels of lead in its drinking water supply.

Officials in Hamtramck, Mich., On Wednesday released reports that the city’s lead levels are 17 parts per billion (ppb), exceeding the state’s action level of 15 ppb. A recent test also found that annual tap water tests were carried out in the city, which showed high levels of lead.

Hamtramck issued a full press release stating that “the target for lead in drinking water is 0 ppb” and that “there is no safe blood lead level”. The statement also said the city planned to provide free water filters to residents of Hamtramck.

“The town of Hamtramck has partnered with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to distribute a free water filter with replacement cartridges to residents of Hamtramck on October 21,” according to the press release. “Further distribution events will be scheduled and published in the coming weeks.”

Additionally, the press release mentioned that lead can seep into drinking water when it comes in contact with surfaces such as pipes, solder, interior plumbing in homes / buildings, fittings and fixtures. that contain lead. Also the houses that contain
lead service lines are at increased risk of having high levels of lead in drinking water.

Hamtramck City Manager Kathleen Angerer said in a separate press release that she just wanted Hamtramck residents to have “safe and clean drinking water.”

“We call on all of our elected officials, the governor and the Michigan legislature to work quickly on a solution to provide funding to Hamtramck and communities like ours for a quick and complete replacement of the lead service line for the safety of our families, ”Angerer said. .

Drinking water in Hamtramck, Michigan is contaminated with lead, the second city in the state to be affected this month.
iStock / Getty

News of Hamtramck’s water supply marred by high lead levels comes a week after Benton Harbor, Mich., Reported the same problem with their water supply.

On October 11, officials at Benton Harbor discovered that in September, a group of environmental agencies had filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency to allow the administration of drinking water in the city after discovering that there were high levels of lead in the water supply. since 2018.

Mustafa Santiago Ali is vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization at the National Wildlife Federation. On October 8, Ali told the Metro Times how avoiding the use of lead pipes would benefit children’s health and educational retention, as lead is linked to a host of hardships for teens.

“It also helps to increase values ​​within communities, real estate values ​​because we know there is a huge wealth gap that exists between black and brown communities and white communities,” Ali told the outlet. . “There are so many different positives that can happen.”

Ali also mentioned that although the federal threshold for taking action on lead-related issues is detected at a level above 15 parts per billion, the water in some homes in Benton Harbor has been tested at “over 800 parts. per billion “.

News week contacted the mayor of Hamtramck for further comment.