Hazel Park issues advisory on water testing results

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published October 24, 2019

 Shutterstock photo

Shutterstock photo


HAZEL PARK — The city of Hazel Park recently issued a public advisory regarding its residents’ drinking water. City officials are saying there’s no systemwide threat, although individual homes that may have lead-based infrastructure should take extra precautions.

In the wake of the Flint water crisis, the state passed new standards for testing drinking water. While Hazel Park’s city infrastructure is not known to have any lead-based service lines, there are still individual homes that have lead-based service lines, plumbing and repairs.

In conducting its test, the city sampled 30 such homes, plus an additional home that had undergone an emergency service line repair. In three of the 30 targeted homes, plus the emergency service line repair site, there were elevated lead levels in excess of 15 parts per billion.

What this means is that an action level is triggered, in which additional testing will be conducted. In the meantime, city officials are reaching out to residents, educating them on some simple steps they can take to protect themselves if they live in a home that may have lead-based lines or repairs.

“In the coming weeks, we will be following up with additional information for our residents,” Hazel Park City Manager Ed Klobucher said in October. “We’re working in cooperation with the state and county to make sure that our residents have the information they need to protect themselves, so they can look forward to that in the coming weeks.”

In an encouraging development, two of the three original action level sites have been retested and subsequently came in under the action level. However, the original results still require follow-up.

“We want to be safe. We want to take reasonable, prudent measures, especially those homes that have lead lines,” Klobucher said. “But again, what we’ve seen from our samples, even the homes with lead lines, is the vast majority of those homes came back testing under the action levels. So it’s very important to keep these results in perspective. We present them to be safe, but not to cause some sort of panic.”

The city manager said that he fully expects many more communities in southeast Michigan to issue similar advisories as they apply the same new standards to their own water. Oak Park and Birmingham are among other communities that have already issued such advisories.

Not sure whether your home has a lead service line? Call the Hazel Park Water Department at (248) 546-4076.

Staying safe
As described in the city’s advisory, the state recommends simple steps that homeowners can take to better protect themselves if they’re not sure what may be in their water:

• Run your water to flush out lead-containing water. If you do not have a lead service line, run it for 30 seconds to two minutes or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature. If you do have a lead service line, run the water for at least five minutes to flush water out of your home’s plumbing and lead service line.

• Consider using a filter to reduce lead in drinking water. This is especially recommended for any household with a child or a pregnant woman. Use a tested lead filter that has been certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to maintain it and replace it as necessary.

• If your household has a child or a pregnant woman and cannot afford the cost of a lead filter, contact the Oakland County Health Department at (248) 424-7000 or (248) 858-1280.

• Use cold water for drinking, cooking or preparing baby formula.

• Do not boil your water. Boiling water will not reduce lead levels.

• Clean your faucet aerator to remove any trapped debris.

Anyone with health-related questions can contact the Oakland County Nurse on Call at (800) 848-5533 or email noc@oakgov.com.

In a joint statement, state Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, and state Rep. Robert Wittenberg, D-Huntington Woods, said that more state support is needed.

“We are monitoring the elevated lead levels that were found in homes throughout our district,” the statement reads. “Last year, Michigan implemented the strictest-in-the-nation sampling methods and standards. This new process and the results they are yielding underscores the critical need to replace aging lead service lines.

“We are prepared to do everything we can to make sure Oakland County’s inner-ring suburbs receive the necessary resources they deserve from their elected officials,” the statement concludes.  

Hazel Park’s city manager said that the state’s help is appreciated.

“I’m gratified that (Moss and Wittenberg) recognize that inner-ring suburbs like Hazel Park need to be provided with resources as we attempt to help our water customers who have lead lines,” Klobucher said. “I hope other members of the state Legislature understand this as well as they do.”