No lead in Clare City drinking water

January 28, 2016

By Pat Maurer

Questions raised by one Clare resident about the “safety” of Clare’s drinking water supply has prompted an explanation for City residents from Dale Clark the Director of Water Treatment for the City.

Michelle Brock of Clare had emailed City officials last week asking, “Since the recent Flint crisis, what is the current lead level in drinking water in the City of Clare. How often do you test for this substance?”
Clark responded, “The Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act requires us to test for Lead every three years.”
He continued, “We just finished a round of sampling in June of 2015. All of the samples taken were under the maximum contaminate level, or what is sometimes called the action level, of 15 parts per billion.”
He added, “I would like to personally let you know that we work very hard at bringing you the safest water possible.”

In response to other questions raised, Clark said, “Our water source is multiple ground wells, which are all ‘plumbed’ to our water treatment plant where it [the water] is treated with chlorine, fluoride and polyphosphate and run through an iron removal process before it is stored in our two elevated water tanks and then distributed, on-demand, to our users.”

At their last regular meeting January 18, Clare City Manager Ken Hibl told the Commissioners that they planned to include a release in the City’s newsletter to explain the matter further.
The following article written by Clark was Okayed to be added to the newsletter and released to the media, Clare City Clerk Diane Lyons said Wednesday.

Lead in drinking water With lead levels in Flint’s water supply receiving national attention, this is a good time to talk about the water supply in the City of Clare.

Before you read any further, I want to assure you that Clare’s water supply is safe and does not have the lead issues that Flint is presently dealing with.

Over the years the uses for lead have been numerous.  For example, lead has been used in paint, gasoline, batteries, fishing equipment, and as a protective shield when receiving x-rays; the list goes on and on.
The history of using lead in the water industry goes back to the Roman Empire.  The Romans used lead for water pipes and as a material in their cooking pots and pans.  In more recent years lead was used in solder to join copper pipes together and used for service lines that would carry water from the water mains in to your home.  Manufacturers also used lead for the manufacturing of plumbing fixtures.
We now know the pitfalls and dangers of lead.  Lead is a toxin that causes both immediate and long term health problems, especially in children.
So what are we doing to fix the problem?  The city adds polyphosphates to our water for corrosion control. Polyphosphates line the water mains in our distribution system and within the pipes of our homes. This stops lead from leaching into the water.  Spring and fall hydrant flushing also helps prevent lead from leaching into our water.
In 2014, the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act was implemented.  This Act specifies that materials used in the distribution of water may not contain more than .25% lead.  You will be relieved to know that 100% of our water samples that were tested for lead this past June (2015) were all under the maximum contaminate level of 15 parts per billion.
For more information, or if you have any questions please call or email Dale Clark, Director of Water Treatment for the City of Clare, at (989) 386-2321 or
Lyons also noted that the Drinking Water Quality Report is available for review on the City’s website and is also posted at the City Hall.
In another matter Landfill Consultant Dan Whalen of Williams & Works was at the City meeting to present the proposed Hatton Landfill Gas Monitoring Plan.
Department of Environmental Quality requirements included a new monitoring well which was drilled last fall he reported. Now new “probes” are needed. “Out of the original eight or nine probes, only one is still functioning,” he said.
The project proposes to replace the probes between the landfill and nearby homes with new ones that read gas emission levels coming from the old landfill. “These are much better and should last approximately 20 years,” Whalen said. The probes will check emissions for methane and other gasses and will be 15 feet deep.
The Commission approved the Landfill Monitoring plan unanimously.
Other business at the City Meeting January 18 included:
*Approval of an Intergovernmental Agreement with Ithaca to share the services of Edie Hunter of BS&A for two days each week for each municipality.
*Approval of a resolution to repeal PA 269, State legislation that prohibits municipalities and school districts from distributing or publishing information about election matters – millage – within 60 days of an election.
*Appointment of Bob Bonham and Pat Humphrey to the City’s Fiscal Oversight and Budget Committee.
Reappointment of Jim Allen and Al Iacco to the Downtown Development Authority.
*Approval of bills totaling $153,655.76.

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