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City of Clare reports high lead levels in two downtown businesses

Kamil Kaczor|

The City of Clare advised  residents to take precautions with their drinking water. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy found high lead levels in the city’s drinking water. 

During a routine testing last month, EGLE was sampling homes and businesses in Clare testing for lead. Their testing showed that two businesses, Hick’s Jewelers and Dr. Scott’s Optometry Office,   in historic downtown Clare had high lead levels.


The state’s action level for lead is 15 parts per billion, the two businesses downtown water supply came in at 27 parts per billion. 


Clare City Manager, Ken Hibl, said the two businesses are the only places in Clare that have high lead levels. 


“The rest of the city, the water is still the same as it was yesterday, ten years ago, twenty years ago. It meets drinking standards and our system itself it does not exceed maximum lead levels.”


The contamination is from old lead lines the city identified last year during an inventory.


Hibl said all of the pipes they found last year have to be replaced.


“We will have to replace all those lead lines in our downtown and we will also have to replace 140 galvanized leads in the city that are more susceptible to lead leaching into the system.”


Hibl said the city has offered to provide the two businesses in downtown with bottled water in the meantime. He said other people that are concerned with their water lines can contact the city to get a lead filter for their homes. 


Hibl said the city hopes to replace the 6 lead and 140 galvanized pipes, which are highly susceptible to lead leaching,  next year. He said the expensive replacement may fall on water customers.