Huntington Woods to replace 40 lead service lines

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published December 3, 2019

HUNTINGTON WOODS — In June 2018, the state of Michigan passed the Lead and Copper Rule, which is aimed to reduce lead and copper levels in drinking water.

The LCR requires “water utilities to make an inventory of all water service connections, tell customers if they have a lead service line, and fully replace all lead service lines over the next 20 years,” according to the University of Michigan’s Sustainability Institute website.

In connection with the rule, at its Nov. 19 meeting, the Huntington Woods City Commission approved the replacement of 40 lead service lines. The work will be done by D’Angelo Bros. Inc.

According to a city document, the bid is a flat price per line of $2,288 for lines less than 20 feet and $2,488 for lines more than 30 feet. The estimated cost to replace all 40 lines is $150,000, which will be taken from the city’s budget stabilization fund and transferred to the water and sewer fund.

“The $150,000 is our estimate of what we think it’ll cost to do the replacement of those 40 lines,” City Manager Amy Sullivan said at the meeting. “If it ends up costing a little bit more than that, then we’ll come back to (the City Commission) for our permission to move the money from the budget stabilization fund to get that work done. This is our best guess right now.”

The budget stabilization fund is money that can be used to either stabilize the budget during hard times or to fund unexpected items. Huntington Woods has classified this project as the latter.

Huntington Woods’ water comes from the South Oakland County Water Authority and Great Lakes Water Authority. In an email newsletter to residents, the city stated that, out of its approximately 2,600 homes, 40 were identified that had lead service lines when they connected to the city’s water system.

Sullivan told the Woodward Talk that the state established an “action level” and that if more than 10% of the sampled homes tested above the lead action levels, then the city had to undertake an educational campaign to inform the public.

The newsletter states that the city tested the water at 20 homes, 18 of which had lead service lines and two that had copper service lines.

“Of this sampling, two homes exceeded the (action level of 15 parts per billion for lead),” according to the newsletter. “Both homes have had whole-house filters installed to filter out the lead while the city obtains quotes for the replacement of the lead service lines.”

Lead concentrations of more than 15 parts per billion were deemed the “action level” by the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.

City Commissioner Michelle Elder said she is happy that Huntington Woods is taking a proactive approach to fix the lines now.

“The law now requires municipalities to replace these lines over 20 years, and that’s not acceptable to me,” she said. “If we have two homes, they need to be addressed. If we have 40 lines in the city, they need to be changed out, because, I mean, as a parent, as somebody who has parents who live here who are seniors, and younger kids as well in my family, this is a top priority for us. And if we can address the 40 lead lines replacement right away, I’m in full support of those.”

Sullivan said that there is no estimated time to fix the lead lines, and the city will have to wait until D’Angelo Bros. completes its current project.