Turn on the Tap – Residential Water Testing
The City of Birmingham is well ahead of schedule in meeting the state-mandated deadline for replacing lead water-service lines. The City is wrapping up water testing in more than 700 homes serviced by lead or copper lines, and the Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Program is underway. Under Michigan law, Birmingham must replace at least 7% of all lead-service lines every year for the next 20 years. We expect to remove all lead service lines in our community far in advance of that deadline. In 2020, nearly 100 service replacements were completed, and the City plans to replace at least another 100 in 2021.
Birmingham’s drinking water is meeting all state and national requirements for MCLs and ALs and while we have resolved our lead action level exceedance it is still good practice for anyone with a lead service line to either use a filter or flush their water before use per MDHHS’ guidance. This program brings us into full compliance with Michigan regulations and ensures that any property with lead service lines will have their lead service lines replaced.
Click the Icon (left) to review the City's records regarding the water service line at your address and visit the Birmingham City Map.
Need help using the database? Watch the quick tutorial video below!
The Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act has changed to better protect your health. New water sampling rules have been added to better detect possible lead in your drinking water. These changes require communities, including Birmingham, with lead service lines and older housing stock, to do more sampling. This new sampling method is expected to result in higher lead results, not because the water source or quality for residents has changed, rather, because the Act has more stringent sampling procedures and analysis.
The City of Birmingham has now completed testing of all lead service leads in our inventory. In total, 730 out of nearly 9,000 residential water customers were determined to have a portion of either public, private or both of their service leads containing lead material. The City will contact those who may need additional testing. Based off the results of the testing, we will then determine priority for service lead removal.
As a part of our Lead Testing Initiative, we have added your water service line information to our City Map Property Database shown above. We are still working on verifying data for portions of the City. If your address is showing as unknown please be patient and check back.
Since 1992 and in accordance with the Act, the City has been conducting testing for lead and copper at sampling locations throughout the City. On this webpage, you will find an important Public Advisory concerning recent testing results of tap water in more than 30 of the estimated 730 homes with lead service lines here in the City. Please take time to read this Public Advisory carefully. It will provide you context and understanding concerning five of the test results as it relates to lead levels in the water. It will also outline actions that you can take as well as steps the City will be taking. You will also find links to a number of resources from the State of Michigan, Oakland County and other sources.
The City’s program to replace lead water-service lines got off to a quick start with eight lines identified for immediate replacement. Four homes and two businesses were scheduled in first round of construction. Work began on February 20. Work on four homes was completed in a little over a week and the City’s Engineering Department expects to be finished with the remaining locations by the end of the first week in March. Engineering expects to resume replacement work this summer, following water testing at all locations with lead service lines and the development of a prioritized replacement plan.
Water testing is moving forward at an equally quick pace. The City identified 728 locations for testing and water test kits have been provided to 301 locations. Those kits are collected by an outside vendor and submitted for testing. The remaining 427 kits will be distributed and collected by March 20. All property owners will receive test results and those results will be used by the City to develop a prioritized remediation plan.
This work is mandated by the State of Michigan, but Birmingham is far ahead of the timetable for addressing its water service lines. We appreciate the cooperation of everyone involved in the testing. Your assistance has helped keep this project moving forward.
The City’s Community Water Forum on November 14, 2019 at Seaholm High School was another action step to help educate you on the changes made by the state of Michigan to better detect possible lead in your drinking water. This informative discussion included officials from the State of Michigan as well as representatives from the City, who provided insight as well as fielded questions from the audience. In addition, the City outlined its Action Plan, designed to exceed the mandates required by the state’s new rules. Download presentations by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, City of Birmingham and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy.
City’s Action Plan for new state drinking water rules to exceed state mandates
As part of new state requirements for the testing drinking water in the State of Michigan, communities must complete an inventory of lead service lines connecting to each individual property by the end of this year. Our review of approximately 9,000 water customers is now complete. In total, about 730 properties were discovered to have lead service lines out of 9,000 total properties. This is about 12% of water customers. The City is now moving forward with the next steps of its action plan. We are currently notifying all affected water customers and will provide them with a complimentary water filter as an initial step, if they would like one. Anyone wishing to check their property to determine what their water service is made of can also visit our website to query their property. This feature can be found at the top of this page by clicking the denoted link.
In follow up to the initial testing of 32 properties in Birmingham, we found 5 that had Action Level exceedances over the stipulated 15ppb. We will be replacing these 5 service lines early next year.
In addition, the City will complete more stringent actions than those required by the State as we address these new rules. We are committed to advancing all required schedules and exceeding future testing and abatement requirements. This will begin in January with the next testing cycle and rather than testing the required 64 properties, we will test all properties in our inventory, which is approximately 730. From this round of testing, we will compile an actionable priority list to begin our abatement program. Under the new rules, the City is required to replace 7% per year through 2041 beginning in 2021. We will advance our program based on available funding prior to this time. We do not plan to raise water rates for this effort, but rather use existing reserves and participate in cooperative purchasing contracts with other agencies to achieve the best rates for this work. Download a summary of the City's action plan here.
For anyone with a lead service line that wants to replace their service ahead of the City’s schedule, the City has waived the associated permit fees for you. Contact the City’s Engineering Department at (248) 530-1840 for more information on the waived permit fee initiative.
State of Michigan
State Certified Labs
Gov. Whitmer and state officials discuss changes to the Michigan Safe Water Drinking Act
Oakland County Health Division
Download a flier from the Oakland Co. Health Division to help determine if you are eligible for a filter from the state.
Oakland County Health Division Labratory-DRINKING WATER ANALYSIS FEES
Bottles can be purchased from one of the County office locations during normal business hours. Their address and phone numbers are:
North Oakland Health Center 1200 N. Telegraph Rd. Pontiac, MI 48341 (248) 858-1280
South Oakland Center 27725 Greenfield Rd. Southfield, MI 48076 (248) 424-7000
Prices are as follows COUNTY RESIDENTS (water source must be IN OAKLAND COUNTY)
Partial Chemical $10
LEAD and COPPER $24
OUT OF COUNTY (water source outside of OAKLAND COUNTY)
Partial Chemical $18
The Nurse on Call (NOC) hotline offers information about health and related resources. Calls are answered by Oakland County Health Division Public Health Nurses Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Contact NOC by calling 800-848-5533 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Birmingham Public Schools
SOCWA (South Oakland County Water Authority)