Lead levels exceeding state's drinking water limit reported in St. Clair Shore homes

There were high lead levels reported at multiple sites in St. Clair Shores Monday.

Of the 25,303 total water customers in the city, 659 people have lead service lines. In an advisory issued Monday afternoon, the city reported four of the 32 sites that had lead service lines and were tested, lead levels exceeded the 15 parts per billion limit set by the state at four of them.

“Although less than 3 percent of our water customers are affected, we want to be proactive and alert all of our water customers-whether their house has lead service lines or not-to-be vigilant and take steps to reduce the risk of any lead exposure,” stated Mayor Kip Walby. 

While noteworthy, the city also said the finding wasn't necessarily surprising and expected to see higher lead levels due to a revamped method for sampling lead in water.

"This new sampling method is expected to result in higher lead results, not because the water source or quality for residents has changed, but because the Act has more stringent sampling procedures and analysis."

The city is being cautious in how they frame the reports since the results don't necessarily mean anyone's water is threatening. When an Action Level is exceeded, it triggers additional actions to investigate and sample water quality, while also educating customers.

“We will continue testing and provide our citizens with information and public education about lead in drinking water and what we as water consumers can do to minimize the risk in our own homes," said Walby.

The city has contacted homeowners whose sites reported high levels and is providing complimentary facet filters. 

Starting next year, St. Clair Shores will be replacing lead service lines at a rate of 7 percent per year.