Lead in concentrations exceeding a state action level were discovered in Parchment’s municipal drinking water during tests that were conducted during the first half of 2019, according to MLive.

From January to June, 32 different homes were tested for lead. Of those tested, 20 homes were found to have lead levels above Michigan's action level of 15 parts per billion and 1 home was found to have elevated copper levels.

Residents of Parchment as well as a portion of those in the adjacent Cooper Township are now served by Kalamazoo's municipal water. A move made after Parchment's municipal water was found to have elevated levels of PFAS.

This isn't the first time elevated lead levels have been found in Parchment's drinking water following the switch. Elevated levels were found and documented in the final months of 2018; after the switch to Kalamazoo's water services.

Recently, Kalamazoo was issued a state violation for improper corrosion control techniques.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. In homes with lead pipes that connect the home to the water main, also known as lead services lines, these pipes are typically the most significant source of lead in the water. Lead pipes are more likely to be found in older cities and homes built before 1986.

Lead is persistent, and it can bioaccumulate in the body over time. Young children, infants, and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to lead because the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels in children than in adults. A dose of lead that would have little effect on an adult can have a significant effect on a child. In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.

Kalamazoo and Parchment working together to replace all lead service lines; that project is expected to be completed in August.

Residents with lead service lines served by the Kalamazoo municipal water are eligible for free water filters as well as replacement filters. If you are unsure about whether your home has lead lines, you can contact the city to find out.

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