Notice to Residents – Drinking Water Info



Update 8/29Public Notice (PDF)  |  Tips to Reduce Exposure  |  Additional Resources

The City of Three Rivers has been conducting testing of tap water in homes for lead and copper in accordance with the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act since 1992. In 2018, the Michigan Lead and Copper Rule was changed to better protect your health.  New rules regarding sample site selection and sampling methodology have been added to better detect possible lead in your drinking water.

These rule changes require communities with known lead service lines collect a 1st liter sample that tests lead levels in the home plumbing and a 5th liter sample that tests lead levels in the service line.  This new sampling method was expected to result in higher lead results, not because the water source or quality for residents has changed, but because the act has more stringent sampling procedures.

The City of Three Rivers recently found more lead service lines. This is our first round of collecting a 1st and 5th liter sample from all of our sampling locations. We recently collected samples from 47 homes. Six homes had results over 15 parts per billion (ppb).

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) evaluates compliance with the Action Level based on the 90th percentile of lead and copper results collected in each round of sampling.  The lead 90th percentile for the City’s water supply is 19 ppb, which exceeds the Action Level of 15 ppb.

The “Action Level” is a measure of corrosion control effectiveness; it is not a health-based standard. The goal for lead in drinking water is 0 ppb; there is no safe level of lead in the blood.

An “Action Level Exceedance” means that more than 10% of the homes tested have results over 15 ppb. The exceedance triggers additional actions including educational outreach to customers, ongoing sampling every six months, assessing the corrosivity of the water, and service line replacement.

Lead can enter drinking water when in contact with pipes, solder, home/building interior plumbing, fittings and fixtures that contain lead. Homes with lead service lines have an increased risk of having high lead levels in drinking water. The more time water has been sitting in your home’s pipes, the more lead it may contain. Therefore, if your water has not been used for several hours, run the water before using it for drinking or cooking. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes. Additional flushing may be required for homes that have been vacant or have a longer service line.

Public Announcement (PDF)

Joe Bippus, City Manager: 269-273-1075

Amy Roth, Public Services Director: 269-273-1845


Tips to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water

  • Run your water to flush out lead-containing water.
    • If you do not have a lead service line, run the water for 30 seconds to two minutes, or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature.
    • If you do have a lead service line, run the water for at least five minutes to flush water from your home or building’s plumbing and the lead service line.
  • Everyone can consider using a filter to reduce lead in drinking water.  The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recommends every household use a certified lead filter to reduce lead from their drinking water, especially households with a child, or a child that frequently visits the home, pregnant person, or individual with high blood pressure, or people residing in houses built before 1987. MDHHS also recommends making baby formula or cooking with filtered water.
    • Look for filters that are tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction and NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for particulate reduction (Class I).
    • For filters to work properly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • UPDATE (8/4/23):  MDHHS recommends that residents need new filters six (6) months after the initial filter distribution.  After that, MDHHS estimates residents will need to receive and replace filter cartridges roughly every four (4) months.
    • MDHHS is offering free certified lead-reducing filters and replacement cartridges to eligible households.  Eligibility criteria are:
      • A child under 18 or a pregnant person lives in the home, or a child frequently visits the home, and
      • A member of the household is enrolled in Medicaid or WIC, or the household is unable to afford a filter.
    • Filters can be obtained at:
      City of Three Rivers
      Department of Public Services
      1015 S. Lincoln Avenue
      Three Rivers, MI
      Phone: 269-273-1845
      Hours:  M-F 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
      Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph
      Community Health Agency
      1110 Hill Street
      Three Rivers, MI
      Phone: 269-273-2161
      Hours:  M-F 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.


  • Do not use hot water for drinking, preparing food, or cooking, or preparing or preparing baby formula.
  • Do not boil your water as boiling will not reduce the amount of lead in water.
  • Clean your faucet aerator to remove trapped debris.
  • Check whether your home has a lead service line. Homes with lead service lines have an increased risk of having high lead levels in drinking water.

City of Three Rivers will soon send a comprehensive public education document about lead in drinking water. We will be collecting at least forty (40) samples every six months and reviewing the results to determine if corrective actions are necessary to reduce corrosion in household plumbing.

If you are a City of Three Rivers water customer and would like your service line inspected or would like to learn about testing your water for lead, contact the City of Three Rivers Department of Public Services at 269-273-1845 or visit for a list of certified labs.

If you are operating a food establishment such as a store, restaurant, bar, or food manufacturing establishment please visit this page for specific information for food firms.

Additional information regarding lead can be found at City of Three Rivers’ website or at EGLE and MDHHS websites: or

Posted August 3, 2023



Additional Resources:

For the City’s annual water quality reports, click here.

 Lead Education

 Lead in Drinking Water