Birmingham continues lead service replacement

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 22, 2024


BIRMINGHAM — The city of Birmingham is in the process of carrying out its Lead Service Replacement Program. The state requires that 7% of known lead service lines be replaced annually, with 100% replacement completed by 2041.

“The City’s current goal is to have all water lead services replaced by the end of 2024,” Birmingham City Engineer Melissa Coatta said in an email.

“It should be noted that the lead action level is a measure of the effectiveness of the corrosion control treatment in water systems. The action level is not a standard for establishing a safe level of lead in a home,” Coatta said.

In order to check if corrosion control is working, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires cities to test for lead at the tap in certain homes.

“The city began lead service replacement in 2019 due to a number of water samples with lead levels exceeding the allowable action limit,” Coatta said.

According to Coatta, it was determined in 2019 that there were 731 suspected lead service lines in Birmingham. Since then, they have found 57 more, bringing it to a total of 788.

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy spokesman Scott Dean said in an email that Birmingham hasn’t had a lead exceedance since 2019, when their 90th percentile calculation was 17 parts per billion. He said the city has not had any additional exceedances of the 15 ppb Lead and Copper Rule standard over the past five sampling periods.

So far, Birmingham has replaced or confirmed a non-lead water service line of 641 properties. Now, 147 lead service lines are remaining.

“The City elected to aggressively approach lead service replacement by replacing a minimum of 100 services per year,” Coatta said.

The replacements are at no cost to the resident. The project money comes from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.

Residents should be home during lead service replacement on their property. Questions can be directed to the Engineering Department at (248) 530-1840.