Saginaw and Owosso lead levels higher than Flint's - WNEM TV 5

Saginaw and Owosso lead levels higher than Flint's

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

For years now, Flint has been in the national spotlight for its lead-tainted water, but now that conversation is changing.

As the problem gets better in Flint, leaders in Saginaw and Owosso are getting pointed questions about the safety of their water.

Both tested to now have higher levels of lead than Flint.

It’s important to note it’s still within federal safety limits and safe to drink, but we wanted to know if there’s any way to bring those levels down.

When it comes to water quality, being told your lead levels are higher than Flint’s can come as quite a shock, but that’s the case in Saginaw. This according to new data from the state

According to the latest state tests lead levels in Saginaw are 10 parts per billion. In Flint, seven parts per billion. With both cities coming in below the federal action level of 15 parts per billion.

“I would tell them that it’s fine,” said Paul Reinsch, who works at the Saginaw Water Department. “I drink our water every day.”

Reinsch insisted the city’s water is safe and he had the data to support it.

“As long as we’re at least in terms of current regulations 15 parts per billion or less that is determined that our system is effectively being treated for lead corrosion,” Reinsch said.

So where is the lead coming from?

“It tends to be in service lines that were put in between the 1880s and the 1930s to the 1950s,” Reinsch said. “It can also come out of sodder from copper joints.”

Reinsch said there are about 5,000 lead service lines within the city limits. He said there are no plans to change any of them unless they’re leaking.

“You can dislodge particles and create more risk in terms of lead in the water,” Reinch said. “So you’re better off leaving your corrosion control to do its job and not start tearing into the line unless you have a very good reason to do so.”

Besides Reinsch said eliminating lead service lines will not do away with lead altogether.

“There is still lead exposure depending on what fixtures you have what type of piping you have,” Reinsch said.

Reinsch said his department is doing everything it can to give residents good high-quality drinking water.

For clarification, the lead levels while higher than those in the city of Flint are below the federal standard for safe drinking water.

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