Food Establishment Recommendations for Lead in Drinking Water

The following recommendations are for food and dairy establishments that use water from a municipality with reported Action Level Exceedances (ALEs) for lead:

PDF icon Food Establishment Recommendations for Lead in Drinking Water 

Contact information for Local Health Departments in counties and municipalities where ALEs for lead have been reported

Bay County Health Department (Essexville)

Berrien County Health Department (Benton Harbor, Eau Claire)

Central Michigan District Health Department (City of Clare/Clare County)

Ingham County Health Department (Leslie)

Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department (Parchment)

Lapeer County Health Department (City of Lapeer)

Macomb County Health Department (St. Clair Shores)

Oakland County Health Department (Birmingham, Hazel Park, Oak Park, Royal Oak, White Lake)

Wayne County Department of Health, Human and Veterans Services (Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Harper Woods, Highland Park, Inkster, Melvindale)

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/MILeadSafe

The Lead and Copper Rule

The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) is a federal regulation that limits the concentration of lead and copper allowed in public drinking water at the consumer's tap, and also limits the permissible amount of pipe corrosion occurring due to the water itself. The purpose of the LCR is to protect public health by minimizing lead and copper levels in drinking water. Lead and copper enter drinking water mainly from corrosion of lead and copper containing plumbing materials.

The rule establishes action levels (AL) for lead and copper based on a 90th percentile level of tap water samples. The lead action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) remains in effect through December 31, 2024. A new lead action level of 12 ppb will take effect January 1, 2025. Lead and copper 90th percentiles are calculated using highest lead and highest copper results from each site. (Note: The 90th percentile is a measure of statistical distribution, not unlike the median. The median is the middle value. The median is the value for which 50% of the values were bigger, and 50% smaller. The 90th percentile tells you the value for which 90% of the data points are smaller and 10% are bigger.)

All community water supplies, and non-transient non-community water supplies, are subject to the LCR requirements. Testing water through a certified laboratory is the only way to find out how much lead is in drinking water.

Michigan has seen a significant increase in Action Level Exceedances (ALEs) for lead in residential water supplies from routine 3-year lead/copper residential water testing. This is primarily due to the implementation of more stringent thresholds in the Lead and Copper Rule. As more municipalities submit their routine 3-year lead/copper residential water samples for testing, more ALEs for lead are expected.

An ALE is not a violation but triggers other requirements to minimize exposure to lead and copper in drinking water, including water quality parameter monitoring, corrosion control treatment, source water monitoring/treatment, public education, and lead service line replacement. All community water supplies, and non-transient non-community water supplies, are subject to the LCR requirements.

In response, the MDARD Food and Dairy Division (FDD) developed procedures that serve as a communication and outreach guide for when FDD learns about a municipality’s lead ALE. The goal is to provide recommendations to licensed food establishments in the impacted area help reduce the amount of lead Michiganders are exposed to. This activity is for outreach and advisory purposes, and not intended for enforcement.