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Businesses provide testing for lead levels in water

Testing for lead in your water is made simple with at home test kits, and the Flint water crisis has many local hardware stores taking a look at what they have available.

Testing for lead in your water is made simple with at home test kits, and the Flint water crisis has many local hardware stores taking a look at what they have available.

"They're pretty simple. They come with clear instructions on the back of them," said Laura Steed, Gill-Roy's Hardware Co-Manager. "For the water test kits, you're just taking a sample of your water. You're not actually doing the test. You're not performing the test. You take a sample and it gives you an address and you're sending it into a laboratory."

At home test kits usually cost around $10, but there's also a $30 lab analysis fee required.

Although test kits may have positive lead results, Pure Water Works in Traverse City said samples might not always show traces of lead.

"Any water sample represents a snapshot of your water," said William Siegmund, Pure Water Works Managing Director. "If you have a lead connection and if you have a lead meter horn, you don't know at what point that goes into the glass. We can take a sample and test the water and there could be no lead in it but that doesn't mean that the next ounce has lead in it."

Siegmund said he works with homeowners on ways to reduce traces of lead in their water.

One method they have is a Reverse Osmosis System that hooks up under the sink to reduce the amount of metals in the water.

Their system costs $1,050, which includes installation.

Siegmund said it involves five technologies that include prefiltration, reverse osmosis, prolonged contact filtration and post filtration.

According to Steed, people moving into older homes or people who've been living in their home for a while are starting to worry about their pipes and their water.

"Most homes are tested when they're built, but if your house is 50 years old, then it probably hasn't been tested in a long time. It wouldn't hurt to test it," said Steed. "If it's lead, you're really looking at issues with your piping, so you might be looking at replacing some of your plumbing."

"Any faucet that is manufactured before 2000 has lead in the brass in the faucet," said Siegmund. "It wasn't until 2000 that all faucets have to conform to the lead standard, and you have nonleaded brass. Any fixture in your house can be a contributing factor to that."

If you do decide to use an at-home test kit, you can expect results in about a week.

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