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Health Department: Elevated levels of lead found in Eau Claire water

BERRIEN COUNTY, Ind.—The Berrien County Health Department announced Thursday that an elevated level of lead was found in the Village of Eau Claire’s drinking water.

The health department is now offering lead-reducing water filters to households in the Village of Eau Claire with children or pregnant women who have financial need.

Water filters will be available to those who qualify at Eau Claire Village Hall on November 1 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and again on Tuesday, November 5 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Nine homes were sampled in the village during a recent compliance testing. One home had lead levels in the water that were above the regulatory Action Level of 15 parts per billion (ppb).

According to the health department, the village does not have lead in its water mains or service lines.

Water customers in the village who wish to have their drinking water tested or their service line inspected should call the village at (269)-461-6173.

Lead exposure can pose health risks to children and unborn children.

Ways to reduce the amount of lead in drinking water include:

  • Run your water for 30 seconds to two minutes to flush out lead after it has been sitting stagnant for 6 hours or more.
  • Clean your faucet aerators, which can trap small pieces of lead.
  • Use only cold water for drinking or cooking; lead dissolves more easily in hot water, so do not try to remove lead by boiling the water.
  • Identify older plumbing fixtures that likely contain lead.

In homes with children or pregnant women, the health department recommends using only cold filtered (or bottled) water for drinking for rinsing food, cooking, mixing powdered infant formula, and brushing teeth. When buying a water filter, make sure it is certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction and NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for particulate reduction.

Senator Kim LaSata released the following statement in response to the advisory issued by the health department:

“I appreciate the department’s efforts to help ensure our drinking water is safe and to protect residents from potential health risks,” said LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township. “This advisory underscores the importance of routine testing of our public water systems as an effective way to identify water contaminants, like lead.

“I encourage Eau Claire residents to follow recommendations from the Berrien County Health Department to help reduce their risk of possible lead exposure, including installing free water filters in qualifying homes as well as other steps like getting their home’s water tested and water pipes inspected. I am confident that following these recommendations and additional testing and corrective action by the village will help mitigate any long-term exposure issues.”

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