The City of Royal Oak released a public advisory today for its nearly 24,000 water customers after testing – which targeted known lead service line locations – found lead concentrations exceeding the Action Level established by the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act (MSDWA). This advisory is meant to provide the steps the city will take moving forward, which include more testing and an extensive public education campaign.
Read the Public Advisory for Drinking Water Customers in the City of Royal Oak.
Since 1992, the City of Royal Oak has regularly tested for lead and copper.
In 2018, the MSDWA was changed to include more stringent procedures for testing and analysis for lead and copper. The new regulations are intended to have a more proactive approach in monitoring each community’s lead and copper levels.
The city sampled water from 30 homes served by lead service lines in the summer of 2019. A water service line is a pipe – typically made of copper, lead or galvanized steel – that extends from the water main in the street to the customer's home or business.
Eight of the 30 test sites test exceeded the 15 parts-per-billion (ppb) concentration ‘Action Level’ established by the MSDWA when tested after water in the plumbing had stagnated for a minimum of six hours. When concentration levels exceeding 15 ppb are found within the 90th percentile, or 10 percent or more of samples taken during a monitoring period, the water supply is required to take additional public education and sampling actions.
It is important to note, the Action Level is not a health-based standard, and the city’s exceedance is not a violation of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.
“Releasing a public advisory is intended to begin a conversation with all our water customers so they can make educated choices based on factors present in their homes,” said Interim City Manager David Gillam. “The public advisory is not meant to scare our residents. We do not have a drinking water crisis in Royal Oak, but we do want to work with any residents who want to improve water quality in their homes.”
Out of 23,741 total service connections, the city estimates six percent (approximately 1,400 services) have lead or lead-containing materials. The city has created a special website at www.romi.gov/leadtesting that includes information on how residents can check their water service lines and determine what material it is constructed of. The website also has information on how to identify other potential sources of lead and many useful resources.
The city has also established a hotline at 248-246-3999 to listen to concerns and answer questions regarding this issue.
In conjunction with the city, the Oakland County Health Division will provide complimentary water filters for economically disadvantaged members of the city who meet state-mandated thresholds on Wednesday, October 30 from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Mahany/Meininger Senior Community Center, located at 3500 Marais Avenue.
To qualify, your household must have at least one of the following:
• Someone receiving WIC benefits and/or Medicaid insurance.
• Difficulty affording a filter and replacement cartridges
ADDITIONALLY, your household must have at least one of the following:
• A child under age 18 living there.
• A child under age 18 spending several hours every week there at least 3 months of the year.
• A pregnant woman living there.
Filters cost about $35 and replacement cartridges cost about $15 and last for approximately nine months.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy or EGLE (formally the MDEQ) is the state department that evaluates compliance with the Action Level of all lead and copper results collected in each round of sampling. More information on their program can be accessed at www.michigan.gov/MILeadSafe.