Essexville water shows higher than accepted lead levels

Published: Nov. 19, 2019 at 5:12 PM EST
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(11/19/2019) - Essexville is the latest community dealing with elevated lead levels found in drinking water.

Officials tested 40 homes in Essexville with lead water service lines and seven of them tested above the threshold for acceptable lead in drinking water.

The results are why City Manager Dan Hansford and volunteers are preparing letters to be sent to nearly 1,600 water customers in Essexville, explaining the situation.

The lead 90th percentile for the city water supply average is 19 parts per billion, above the state's action level of 15 parts per billion.

"There is no reason to panic on any of this," said Bay County Public Health Director Joel Strasz.

Michigan has adopted the nation's strictest rules for lead in drinking water and Strasz said that's one reason more communities are now missing the mark on lead tests.

"Lead in the water is a concern, especially after the Flint water crisis. But really these results can be contributed to enhanced testing and the lower thresholds taking place," he said.

Still, the test results were a concern for Linda Sterling.

"I'm not too happy about that," she said.

Sterling had a filter on her tap water, took it off, but now will be putting it on again after hearing about the results.

Essexville has 383 water customers with complete or partial lead service lines. They are being replaced.

"Next year we are going to do 26 replacements," Hansford said.

The letters advise water customers with lead service lines to run water for a few minutes before using and consider using a filter.

The health department will be handing out free water filters Friday at city hall to those who qualify.

"We want to make sure we have a lead free environment here in Bay County," Strasz said.

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