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Routine testing reveals elevated levels of lead in tap water of some homes in Redford Township

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark
Michigan Radio

The Redford Township Water Department found lead in the tap water of four homes recently. The discovery was made during routine testing of 31 homes with older, lead water lines. Redford Township is in Wayne County and is home to about 47,000 people.

As part of its response to the findings, the township is distributing water filters to eligible residents through Friday.

From 2 P.M. to 7 P.M., eligible residents can collect a filter at the Redford Township Community Center at 12121 Hemingway Street. To be considered eligible, residents must live in a home with a Medicaid-enrolled child under 19 or a Medicaid-enrolled pregnant person. Free blood lead testing will also be offered at this location by the Wayne County Health Department. Eligible residents who are unable to pick up a filter can do so starting November 6 from the Leo Snage Public Services Building at 12200 Beech Daly Road, between 8:30 A.M. and 4:30 P.M. on weekdays.

According to a statement from the township, the lead levels of the recent samples exceed the federal and state action level: “The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy evaluates compliance with the Action Level based on the 90th percentile of lead and copper results collected in each round of sampling. The lead 90th percentile for the township’s water supply is 21 parts per billion (ppb), which exceeds the Action Level of 15 ppb.”

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) provides Waterford Township’s tap water. In a statement, GLWA’s chief operating officer Terry Daniel said that water leaving GLWA is not contaminated with lead: “The GLWA continues to have water of unquestionable quality…there is no lead in the water that the Authority distributes throughout southeast Michigan,” Daniel said. He added that the GLWA tests its water multiple times per day.

Michael Dennis is the Public Services Director for Redford Township. He said the township will continue testing properties and working toward replacing old lead lines, which have been identified at 160 properties so far.

"You know, lead is a very important topic. This is not just a local issue, this is a state issue. It's a country issue. We just happened to hit that threshold of exceedance this time, and we're dealing with it swiftly," Dennis said.

The township has created a website to keep residents informed of future testing and ways to reduce lead in drinking water.

Beth Weiler is a newsroom intern covering the environment.
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