During the 2020 monitoring period, Ferndale’s Department of Public Works (DPW) collected samples from 31 properties with known lead service lines. Of these 31 properties, five were found to have lead concentration levels above the lead Action Level established by the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act of 15ppb (parts per billion). The City’s 90th percentile value was 30 ppb.
This Action Level is not a health-based standard, but rather a level that triggers the need for additional actions, such as increased sampling and educational outreach.
It is important to understand that Ferndale’s water source and quality has not changed. The Action Level exceedance is a result of more-rigorous sampling procedures and focuses on properties with lead service lines—the pipes that connect a home to the city’s water main. Homes with lead service lines have an increased risk of having high lead levels in drinking water. However, lead can enter drinking water in any home that has pipes, solder, home/building interior plumbing, fittings, and fixtures that contain lead.
Ferndale has a total of 10,031 service line connections with an estimated 30%, or approximately 3,000, constructed with lead or lead-containing materials.
In response to these results, the City will increase both the frequency of monitoring and the number of sites tested. This additional information will provide important data for state and city officials to determine what additional actions may be required to bring the 90th percentile value below 15ppb.
Additionally, in accordance with the state rules, we've been working on a plan to identify and inventory service lines throughout the City. Within the next six months, the City will begin replacing 7% of our lead service lines per year until all have been updated. We'll be communicating about this more thoroughly in the coming months with guidance from the State of Michigan and EGLE.
Although the results are site-specific and lead levels will vary between homes, there are several recommended actions you can take to reduce your exposure to lead.
Run your water before consuming. The more time water has been sitting in your home’s pipes, the more lead it may contain. If your water has not been used for several hours, run the water before using it for drinking or cooking. This flushes stagnant water from the pipes. Additional flushing may be required for homes that have been vacant or have a longer service line.
Consider using a filter. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommends that any household with a child or pregnant woman use cold water and a certified lead filter to remove lead from their drinking water, especially when preparing baby formula.
Do not use hot water for drinking, preparing food, or cooking, or preparing baby formula.
Do not boil your water as boiling will not reduce the amount of lead in water.
Clean your faucet aerator to remove trapped debris.
Check whether your home has a lead service line. If you are unsure whether your home is serviced by a lead service line, the following link provides a useful tool to assist you in determining your home’s service line material: www.ferndalemi.gov/resources/lead-and-your-drinking-water. You can also contact the City’s Department of Public Works at 248-546-2519 for this information.
Have your water tested for lead. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) published a list of state laboratories that are certified for lead testing. The Oakland County Health Division also offers testing kits. For more information, contact the Oakland County Health Division at 248-858-1280. Health related questions can be directed to the Oakland County Nurse on Call at (800) 848-5533 or NOC@oakgov.com.
In the coming weeks, the City of Ferndale will be providing additional informational resources as part of a comprehensive public education campaign. Additional information regarding the new regulations and lead safety can be found on the City of Ferndale’s Lead and Your Drinking Water webpage or on the EGLE website.
If you have additional questions, please contact the Department of Public Works at 248-546-2519.