07-27-2017 Mixed test results for Tri-Cities municipal water systems;

Mixed test results for Tri-Cities municipal water systems

By Kristy Noack

Water quality reports are issued by cities annually and reflect how prevalent – or not – contaminants are within the water.

The water quality reports measure the levels of lead, arsenic, copper, and other possible contaminants in the water sources that supply each municipality. Each report gives the level of that specific contaminant detected in the water, as well as the maximum containment level (MCL), which is the highest level allowed in drinking water.

Additionally, the State of Michigan has performed an assessment of each community’s drinking water source which is deemed a Community Public Water Supply (CPWS).

A Type I CPWS means the source provides year-round water service to at least 25 residents or more than 15 residential units. Typically, all apartments, nursing homes, mobile home parks, and municipalities are a Type 1 CPWS, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

There are four additional types of water supplies. Type II is a Nontransient, Noncommunity Public Water Supply, which means the source serves at least 25 of the same people at least six months of a year. Types of this public water supply would be a school, industry such as manufacturing plant or industrial site, and individual companies.

Type II Transient Noncommunity Public Water Supply sites are indicative of restaurants with less than 25 people or campgrounds.  For this designation, a place must serve at least 25 people or have a minimum of 15 connections for 60 days a year.

Type III Public Water Supply sites are generally duplexes or small apartment complexes. Water Supply sites that are not considered Type I or Type II, serve fewer than 25 people and 15 connections or operate less than 60 days a year are categorized as Type III.

The final designation of a Community Public Water Supply is Private Water Supply. A private supply serves one living unit and is typically a single-family home.

Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet are Type I Community Public Water Supply sites.

The State of Michigan assesses source water and provides a rating detailing to what level the source water could be contaminated. All reports advise that the rating is not an indicator that the water supply will become contaminated, just an explanation of possible threats to the system. Michigan uses a seven-level assessment for susceptibility. The lowest level is “very low,” while the highest is “very high.”

According to the United States Geological Survey, a division of the United States Department of the Interior, almost 71% of the surface of the Earth is covered by water. Oceans hold almost 97% percent of the Earth’s water.

Additionally, water can be found in rivers, lakes, glaciers, ponds, reservoirs, and steam or vapor.

The USGS reported that the United States used almost 275 billion gallons of surface water every day in 2010.  In addition, 79 billion gallons of groundwater were used per day.

Surface water is the fluid on the surface of the earth and is found in oceans and rivers. Groundwater is the water located below the surface of the Earth.

Coloma city receives its water from four groundwater wells. The State of Michigan assessed Coloma’s source water is “moderately” susceptible to contamination.

Hartford residents are served by three groundwater wells that are filled by the Paw Paw River aquifer. However, when the State of Michigan reviewed the water source in 2003, the city was served by only two wells.  The source water ranking for those wells were deemed “high” susceptibility for contaminants.

Watervliet’s source water is received from four underground wells that draw from the Paw Paw Lake watershed.  Three wells were given a “moderately” susceptible rating, while one well received a “high” susceptibility rating.

It is important to note that there is contamination in the ground no matter your location.

Southwest Michigan is a heavily agricultural area, and contaminants are found naturally in the soil. For example, low levels of arsenic are found in apples, and the local area is filled with orchards and farmland.

The Center for Disease Control and Environmental Protection Agency has set 10