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Michigan city to remove hundreds of lead water pipes

May 2, 2017

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — More than 200 lead water pipes will be removed from a southwest Michigan city this summer.

MLive (http://bit.ly/2oU9UII ) reported the Kalamazoo City Commission approved a nearly $850,000 construction contract on Monday with Rieth-Riley Construction Co. to replace the lines. The city’s 2017 Water Capital Improvement Budget will fund the service line replacement project.

Public Services Director James Baker said Kalamazoo plans to replace almost 500 lead service lines during the 2017 construction season. On average the city has removed 100 lead pipes per year, Baker said.

Many of the lead lines are located in the northeastern part of the city and in the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

More than 7,300 lines connecting customers to the city water main are unidentified, according to a recent report. The majority of undefined lines are in the center of the city.

Though no lead has been detected in water leaving the city’s pumping stations, small amounts can dissolve into drinking water if it sits for several hours in pumping fixtures containing lead.

Water quality samples from last year found that 90 percent of the 148 homes sampled were at or below four parts per billion for lead. The Environmental Protection Agency require action if concentrations are at or exceed 15 parts per billion. Metal contamination was at its highest in 2014 with 14 parts per billion for lead.

The city collected lead and copper monitoring data a year early in response to public concern over the Flint water system lead problem.

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Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo

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