THREE RIVERS, Mich. (WOOD) — One day after the health department advised people in Three Rivers to avoid drinking tap water, businesses are working on ways to keep their water clean and safe for customers.
The advisory was put in place Thursday after tests by the city found lead levels that were higher than the state’s “action level.” The city said six homes — out of 47 tested — had lead levels over 15 parts per billion.
“There’s an overall concern about lead in our water,” Tom Lowry, mayor of Three Rivers, said.
The advisory is forcing people to find alternative ways to cook, drink and brush their teeth.
“It’s horrible,” Regina Mains, owner of GG’s Cookies, said. “My biggest fear was that we could be like Flint, and now here we are.”
This isn’t the first time the city has had an issue with its water system. Twice last month, untreated wastewater was discharged into the St. Joseph River, causing the health department to issue a “no contact” advisory.
“We had a couple of spills, sewage,” Mains said. “The first time, it was only like 500 gallons … I have my kids, my three kids all live here in town, and it just makes it hard.”
To keep their water clean, most business owners said they are using filters, which the city hall and health department are providing to residents for free, and testing kits.
However, business owners and residents said they are staying positive, despite the inconvenience.
Lowry said the testing was put in place after a state mandate from three years ago.
“There is, in fact, a mandate from the state of Michigan that all municipal water systems have to remove the lead pipes within 20 years,” he said. “We’re year three of that mandate. It’s totally unfunded … No community can support replacing all those lead pipes.”
On Thursday, the city told News 8 that there is no state of emergency and that it is strictly following state guidelines.