Public Advisory  
  Every three years, the City of Houghton conducts testing of the tap water in homes for lead and copper. Per the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), samples are collected from homes that were chosen to likely have lead containing solder or older copper plumbing. The city does not have any known lead pipes in the system or any homes known to have actual lead service lines; as may be common in other parts of the state. Historically, the treatment of the Houghton water supply has been very successful in preventing excessive corrosion in household plumbing.
This September, we collected 20 samples from our regularly sampled homes and the test results showed three samples just over the Action Level for lead. An Action Level is not a health based standard, but a level that triggers additional investigative sampling of water quality and requires educational outreach to customers.
The MDEQ assesses the effectiveness of the corrosion control measures based on the 90th percentile of all lead and copper results collected in each round of sampling. The lead 90th percentile for the Houghton water supply based on this year’s samples is 16 parts per billion (ppb) which exceeds the Action Level of 15 ppb.
Even though only three locations of the 20 locations sampled were just over the 15 ppb within the Houghton water system, the City of Houghton would like to share some ways you can reduce your potential exposure to lead in your water or in the environment since lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources.
The most important things you can do to reduce your chances of exposure to lead is to use your cold water tap for drinking, cooking, or preparing baby formula and let the water run for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, per EPA recommendations, or until it becomes cold. Do not boil your water as boiling will not reduce the amount of lead in water.
Over the next year, the Houghton Water Department will conduct additional monitoring of the water system to assess the current corrosion control treatment and, working with MDEQ, will determine if additional corrosion control measures are necessary to reduce corrosion in household plumbing. At the same time, we believe subsequent rounds of sampling will show the water supply below that Action Level.
Additional information regarding lead in water can be found on the City’s website: <WEB ADDRESS> or at the MDEQ web page at www.michigan.gov/deqleadpublicadvisory
To view Houghton’s most recent water supply quality report, please visit the city’s website at www.cityofhoughton.com , click on “City Services/Utilities” at the bottom of the main page and scroll down to “Water Quality Consumer Confidence Report” (or http://www.cityofhoughton.com/docs/Consumer%20Confidence%20Report%202017.pdf)
Any questions you have about water quality can be addressed by the city by calling 906-482-1700.