Elevated lead levels found in the water Hamtramck & Benton Harbor

Posted at 5:41 AM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 17:59:05-04

(WXYZ) — There are growing concerns over the water in metro Detroit and across the state.

It comes as the City of Hamtramck is warning residents of high lead levels found in drinking water.

In all, 42 homes were tested throughout the city, and six came back with elevated lead levels.

Hamtramck joins Benton Harbor as the latest community in Michigan to have problems with the water supply.

The city said that the water is safe to wash your hands, but you should not be drinking, bathing or brushing your teeth with it.

"We do a sampling every year of our lead service lines, and there were six homes that exceeded the allowable limit of 15 parts per billion," Hamtramck City Manager Kathleen Angerer said.

There are actually thousands of lead service lines in a sampling of 42 homes, and six showed high lead levels.

"We would like to have a zero level of lead in our drinking water, every family deserves safe drinking water in Michigan," Angerer added.

This new discovery in Hamtramck comes as Benton Harbor on the west side of the state declared an emergency over lead in their water.

Their infrastructure is also aging. The cost to replace about 6,000 lead service lines is estimated at $30 million. $19 million has already been set aside in federal and state funds.

Their lead levels in the water supply, like Hamtramck, have exceeded the federal threshold.

"The effects of lead can manifest throughout your life and that's why being exposed to lead is so tricky because most people don't even know they're being exposed to lead," Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha said. She's a pediatrician who helped discover the Flint water crisis.

In Hamtramck, the city is in the process of replacing all of its lead pipes. They plan to have 300 replaced by the end of the year, leaving 6,000 still go to.

The city will distribute one free water filter with replacement cartridges on Thursday, Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hamtramck Town Center parking lot at 9521 Joseph Campau.