REED CITY — With Michigan’s new lead testing deadline approaching, Reed City City Manager suggested the city follow requirements despite other local governments fighting the new rule.
The Lead and Copper Rule put in place by Governor Rick Schnieder requires towns to test for any lead deposits in the water system. Any testing above an action range of 1.3 ppb in ten percent or more of their water must replace the pipes at a minimal five percent rate with all pipes replaced by 2026, according to Reed City DPW Manager Rich Rehkopf.
While the city has an idea of what has already been replaced since 2008, there is still a lot that has not been looked at and mapped out as to what is lead and what is not, according to DPW manager Rich Rehkopf.
“The DEQ wants everything verified by 2022 and everything to be dug up at a five percent rate after that, if we know there is lead, and have everything done in four years after that,” said Rehkopf.
Reed City Manager Ron Howell, though, is not worried about results in Reed City as he told the council they test the water on a yearly basis and replace any positive pipe systems immediately.
“Please note that the city has a standing policy that when looking at lines if we find anything that is lead it is immediately removed and replaced,” said Howell.
However, in telling the council about the new rule, he stated that he was worried about the requirements for replacing any lead positive pipes.
“I wanted you to see the resolution, specifically from the Bay City Commissioners, that there are a lot of cities that have taken objection to this,” he informed the council. “You are talking about burdening local governments with replacing the lines that go from the water main to the house, which traditionally we have stopped at the shut-off valve.”
According to a memo from The Great Lakes Water Authority provided by Howell, the testing and replacement will cost the local governments across Michigan a total of $1.75 billion at a rate of $3,500 per line. Both Howell and the GLWA pointed out that the money will come at the cost of the taxpayers.
“Never have we been required to replace private lines and spend public funds,” said Howell.
Howell feels that this entire rule is reactionary and an extreme measure to preventing another water incident.
“What we are seeing is a reaction to the Flint fiasco,” Howell said. “This expedited ‘you must do it now’ is all Flint. So we are supposed to go and replace everything, that’s just, what?”
Though concerned about the responsibility being placed on the city, Howell does not feel the City should act in any way against the rule.
“We are only a town of about 2,400,” he said. “We wouldn’t make much of an impact. I would not advise the council to do anything or look into doing anything against the rule. I just wanted to bring to their attention that other larger cities are fighting this.”
Reed City will continue with testing for lead and replacing as planned and in compliance with the new rule, according to Howell.