THE WATER FILTRATION PLANT is located on Allendale Avenue, just off Gould Street, and is situated along the Shiawassee River. Two of the six wells approved by the state for Owosso are located near the water treatment plant. Two more wells are located northeast of Owosso, and two more are located in the vicinity of Hopkins Lake. Currently, the city is utilizing five of the six wells.
The water treated at the above filtration plant supplies both the cities of Owosso and Corunna with the same water that is monitored and evaluated 24-hours a day.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
The 2018 Owosso Water Quality Report reflects data accumulated during the 2017 calendar year, though some data also shows earlier samplings as directed under EPA and state mandated guidelines. Residents of the city can find the report under the “Minutes & Agendas” heading at www.ci.owosso.mi.us. The complete packet is available for download from the Monday, April 2 meeting. Information related to the report begins on page 105. More information is provided under www.ci.owosso.mi.us/Utilities.
Owosso currently utilizes five groundwater wells, though there are six that are state approved. The water filtration plant is located along the Shiawassee River on Allendale Avenue in the southeastern section of the city. Seven employees work in shifts keeping the filtration plant operational 24-hours a day. The water is continuously monitored and recorded before it is released from the facility to both Owosso and Corunna: the city of Corunna uses the same water as Owosso.
The recent water quality report shows a lead contamination level of six parts per billion (ppb), though lead has not been recorded from any city water mains. The six ppb data is from old residential service lines where outdated plumbing is still in use. The EPA recommends a lead action rule not to exceed 15 ppb.
It should be noted that water testing in the report includes looking at contaminants such as chromium, fluoride, chlorine, minute radioactive materials from erosion, and also other contaminants such as sodium, chloride, and sulfates, as well as lead and more.
Lead, as many already know, can cause serious health problems, particularly for children and pregnant women. The lead contamination described in the water quality report occurs at or near the point of entry into a home where old service lines are still utilized. During the Monday, April 2 Owosso City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved going ahead with a $1 million Pilot Drinking Water Community Supply grant application to the MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Equality). As stated in a previous article in The Independent, council members voted to waive the traditional bidding requirements to expedite the process of replacing old service lines, authorizing OHM (Orchard, Hiltz, and McCliment, Inc.) to handle the task if the grant is accepted: a huge boon to Owosso residents who won’t face charges related to the service. Generally, service line replacement costs would fall on the homeowner. If the grant is accepted, the city will have a 12-month period to replace these service lines.
Under mandated guidelines, the city must report the highest contamination test recorded from identified sampling locations (the number of locations is dependent on the size of a city) at the 90-percentile mark. Example: if a city has to sample from thirty sites, the top three are removed, and the city has to report on the number that is left. Smaller cities and towns draw from a much smaller source of sampling locations, so numerically the chance of testing higher is reduced.
The EPA recommends minimizing the potential for lead exposure by allowing a tap to run for a minimum of 30 seconds before drinking. Lead is not absorbed through the skin. It is worth noting that bottled water may also come from a contaminated water source, since both tap water and bottled water come from the same general water sources. In the case of Owosso, the water source is the wells.
A number of websites are available for further information on water quality, including www.epa.gov/ccr that includes basic information to understanding a water quality report, and also offers answers to frequently asked questions. Likewise, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality offers related information at www.michigan.gov/deq. The EPA safe water hotline is 1(800) 426-4791.
Glenn Chinavare is the public utilities director for the city of Owosso and is available at (989) 725-0555. David Haut is the water plant superintendent and his phone number is (989) 725-0560.