Westland takes action over lead water pipe concerns

Lead is also a concern in Westland.



"Starting tomorrow I've got two crews that is going to go to all 11 of these houses," said Mayor Bill Wild.  "And they're going to excavate the water boxes and verify it."



Wild says if they find city-owned lead service lines running to those 11 homes he'll hire contractors to replace them.

Crews have already painted yards so they know where to dig.

Resident Scott Golden had no clue they'd be coming to his house.

"They came out here and marked the yard without even knocking on my door," said Golden. "I'm just really nervous, first for my son Trevor and for myself. I'm actually a dialysis patient, I have kidney failure so it's really a concern to me."

The mayor's action plan comes after Frank Raymore, a longtime water and sewer division worker,  raised public health concerns during a city council meeting this week.

He cited three instances where he discovered lead water service lines and instead of them being immediately replaced -

"I've been instructed to repair cover up and bury live lead service pipes owned by the city, supplying potentially contaminated water to unsuspecting residents," Raymore said.

FOX 2: "What exactly is the city's policy or is there one?"

"Well the policy to this point, appears was an unwritten policy that we have to change these out," Wild said.

Wild says that eventually happened to two of those lead service  lines. But Raymore says it was only after he intentionally broke one of them and the city had no choice but to replace it.

FOX 2: "What do you say to that?"

"Well obviously it doesn't take that kind of action to get it done," Wild said. "I think what it showed is that we probably need to do a better job of having a formalized policy so everybody knows exactly what we do every time we find one of these."

The mayor will offer up a plan to city council to provide free water testing the entire neighborhood which has nearly a thousand homes.

He also plans on helping landlords and homeowners find the money to replace potential lead service lines on their property if they cannot afford it.

According to Raymore and other authorities, a mismatch between city and privately owned service lines can be dangerous.

"The lead and copper put together speeds up the corrosion inside the pipe, the lead pipe" Raymore said. "It speeds it up tenfold. It really defeats whatever chemical that Detroit is putting in for the corrosion."

It's possible there are far more lead service lines in this neighborhood than the ones running to the 11 homes the city has already identified. There will be no immediate fix for those.

"I think what we'll do moving forward is as they're identified through water main breaks obviously every time we come across one we'll have it replaced," Wild said.

There will be an emergency city council meeting Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. to talk about the action plan. Wild will talk about an offer of free water testing to people living where the lead service lines will be removed

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