BWL 2016 Annual Water Quality Report

  • Dear Customer:

    We are pleased to present the 19th annual report summarizing the quality of the drinking water provided to by the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) for the 2016 calendar year. This Consumer Confidence Report is required by the Federal and State of Michigan Safe Drinking Water Acts (SDWA). This report discusses the source of your tap water, the results of tests we regularly conduct to assure the quality of your water and additional information that you may wish to know about your drinking water.  

    As a publicly-owned utility the BWL encourages public interest and participation in decisions affecting the community’s drinking water. The BWL’s Board of Commissioners meet on the fourth Tuesday of every other month at our REO Town Depot Facility, 1201 S. Washington Avenue in Lansing. Meeting dates and times are published in advance and may be found on the BWL’s website at www.lbwl.com/BWL-Governance or by calling us at 517-702-6006. Our board meetings are open to the public.

    The Bottom Line

    During 2016, BWL drinking water continues to meet or exceed all quality standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

    About Us

    The BWL was established in 1885 by a vote of the people of Lansing to fund a publicly owned utility to meet their need for adequate fire protection, proper sanitation and improved street lighting for the city. The Lansing community and the BWL service territory has been very fortunate to be located over the center of the Saginaw Aquifer, which has been called one of the finest natural sources of groundwater ever discovered.

    BWL Facts 

    • 125 Wells, approximately 400 feet deep
    • 2 Water Conditioning Plants
    • 166,000 Population Served
    • 40,450 Wholesale Population Served
    • Average use of 19.2 Million Gallons per Day
    • 862 miles of water mains 


    Recognitions

    In 2014 the John F. Dye Water Conditioning Plant was recognized as a National Waterworks Landmark by the American Water Works Association and the Plant was also presented with a Clean Corporate Citizen Award by the MDEQ for its environmental stewardship.

Important Information About Lead

From the early 20th century through the early 1950s, the BWL and other water utilities across the country commonly used lead service lines to deliver water from the distribution mains to individual customers. Even though the BWL has been in compliance with the EPA’s lead regulations and was not required to remove lead service lines the BWL knew it was in the best interest of our customers and our utility to eliminate lead service lines from our system.

In December 2016, the BWL replaced its last active lead service line, joining Madison, Wisconsin as the only two water utilities in the nation that have removed all lead service lines.  The project began in 2004 and removed 12,150 active lead services lines at a cost of $44.5 million.  

Is There Lead in My Water?

There is no detectable lead in BWL drinking water when it leaves our conditioning plants. However, since water is naturally corrosive small amounts of lead can dissolve into your drinking water if your water sits for several hours in contact with household plumbing fixtures, solder or faucets.  The BWL uses a corrosion control additive to create a protective coating to reduce or eliminate the risk of exposure.

EPA's Message about Lead

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water comes primarily from materials and components associated with water service lines and home plumbing. The BWL is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components.  When water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for thirty seconds to two minutes before using the water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) or at http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lead/index.cfm.

Minimize Lead in Your Home 

  • Flush your pipes before drinking.  If your water has sat in your home’s plumbing for more than 6 hours then run the tap until the water feels cold.  To conserve water, the water could be collected to water household plants. 

  • Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and especially for making baby formula.  Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead.  

  • Check your plumbing fixtures.  A new “lead-free” law came into effect in 2014 limiting the amount of lead in faucets and plumbing.    

Lead and Copper sampling was conducted by the BWL during the summer of 2014. Monitoring results can be found on the "Tables" tab under the heading "Substances Measured in Homes and Businesses".  BWL compliance monitoring is every 3 years and the next sampling round will be 2017.

 

Please visit our website at www.lbwl.com/water for more information about lead.  


How to Read the Water Quality Data Tables

The BWL tests the water frequently and the results of all detected contaminants, even in the smallest traces, are shown in the tables below. These tables contain the name of each substance, the highest level allowed if regulated, the ideal goals for public health if established, the amount detected, and the usual sources of such contamination. There are also footnotes explaining our findings and a key to units of measurement. The presence of contaminants in the water does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk.

Unless otherwise noted, the data presented in this table is from testing done January 1 – December 31, 2016. The BWL is allowed to monitor for certain contaminants less often than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants are not expected to vary significantly from year to year. While all the data are representative of the BWL’s water quality, some results are more than a year old.

The tables do not list the hundreds of contaminants for which the BWL tested but did not detect a presence.

Key To Tables:

AL

Action Level: The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow.

MCL

Maximum Contaminant Level: The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water.  MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

MCLG

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal: The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

MRDL

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level: The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water.  There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

MRDLG

 

 

 

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal: The level of a disinfectant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contamination.

N/A

 Not Applicable

ND

Not detectable at testing limit

pCi/L

Picocuries per Liter (a measure of radioactivity)

PPM

Parts Per Million or miligrams per liter (mg/l)
(equivalent to one penny in $10,000)

PPB

Parts Per Billion, or micrograms per liter (ug/l)
(equivalent to one penny in $10,000,000)

 

SUBSTANCES MEASURED IN THE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM

Disinfectants and Disinfection By-Products 

The BWL adds chloramine to its water at the conditioning plant to protect against bacterial growth. Chloramine is used instead of other disinfectant options because it minimizes the number and level of chlorination by-products, persists longer in the distribution system and leaves little or no unpleasant odor and taste. The following table lists the chloramine levels and disinfection by-products created by the reaction of our chloramine treatment and naturally occurring organic compounds.

 

Regulated Contaminant

Unit

MCL

MCLG

Highest Average Detected Level

Range of Detected Levels

Major Sources

Violation?

Haloacetic Acids (HAA5)

PPB

60

N/A

2.4

0 to 3.6

By-product of drinking water disinfection

No

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

PPB

80

N/A

4.0

2.9 to 4.6

By-product of drinking water disinfection

No

Chloramines

PPM

MRDL

MRDLG

1.9

<0.10 to 2.8

Water additive to control microbes

No

4

4

                 

 

SUBSTANCES MEASURED AT THE WATER CONDITIONING PLANT

Regulated Contaminant

Unit

MCL

MCLG

Highest Detected Level

Range

Date Tested

Major Sources

Violation?

Barium

PPM

2

2

0.022

0.015 to 0.022

07/25/12

Discharge of drilling wastes; discharge from metal refineries; erosion of natural deposits

No

Fluoride

PPM

4

4

0.56

0 to 0.56*

07/07/16

Erosion of natural deposits; water additive which promotes strong teeth; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories

No

Radioactive Contaminant

Unit

MCL

MCLG

Highest Detected Level

Range

Date Tested

Major Sources

Violation?

Radium 226 and 228

pCi/L

5

0

1.95 + 0.44

0.84 + 0.51 to 1.95 + 0.44

07/07/16

Erosion of natural deposits

No

 

Water Quality Table Footnotes:  Dye Conditioning Plant was not feeding fluoride from March through Dec 2016 while the fluoride feed equipment was down for repair.

 

Special Monitoring (Not Regulated)

Unit

MCL

Highest Level Detected

Range

Date Tested

Major Sources

Violation?

Sodium

PPM

Not Established

120

82-120

07/07/16

Natural constituent of groundwater

N/A

 

 Fluoride

The raw water coming into the BWL’s two water conditioning plants has a naturally occurring level of fluoride at approximately 0.35 ppm. The BWL adds fluoride to the water to bring it to the optimal level of 0.7 ppm recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Public Health Service and approved by the EPA.

As stated on the www.CDC.gov/fluoridation/safety website,  the “CDC monitors the public health benefits and risks of community water fluoridation from studies published by panels of experts from health and scientific fields. The reviews, conducted over many years, have concluded that water fluoridation is both safe and effective.”

Further information about fluoride in drinking water, including specific information about infants, can be obtained from the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/fluoridation.


SUBSTANCES MEASURED IN HOMES AND BUSINESSES*

Contaminant Subject to AL

Unit

AL

9 out of 10 homes were below a level of:

# of samples above the action level:

Major Sources

Violation?

Copper

PPM

**1.3 at 90th percentile

0.02

0

Corrosion of household plumbing systems; erosion of natural deposits; leaching from wood preservatives

No

Lead

PPB

***15 at 90th percentile

7.8

2

Corrosion of household plumbing systems; Erosion of natural deposits

No

 

Water Quality Table Footnotes:

*Lead and copper were last sampled in June 2014
**9 out of 10 homes tested must show a concentration equal to or lower than 1.3 parts per million
***9 out of 10 homes tested must show a concentration equal to or lower than 15 parts per billion

If you're concerned about lead, have the water tested. Arrangements can be made for water testing through the Ingham County Health Department at 517-887-4312 and each test costs about $20. Or, you may choose to install a water filter that is NSF-certified for lead removal. If a water filter is installed, replace it at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer.

 

UNREGULATED CONTAMINANTS

Unregulated contaminants are those that do not have an MCL or MCLG but are reported to and evaluated by the MDEQ and EPA. Monitoring helps the EPA determine in which areas of the country these contaminants are being detected and whether they should be regulated. As our customers, you may request the results of our tests by contacting Angie Goodman at 517-702-7059 or at angie.goodman@lbwl.com.

Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 That Were Detected

Unregulated

Contaminants

Unit

Average Detected Level

Range

Date

Tested

Major Sources

Chromium

PPB

0.2

0.2-0.3

Feb & Aug 2015

Natural constituent of groundwater

Molybdenum

PPB

1.1

0-1.2

Feb & Aug 2015

Industrial activities; naturally occurring sources

Strontium

PPB

166

120-210

Feb & Aug 2015

Industrial activities; naturally occurring sources

Vanadium

PPB

0.3

0.2-0.4

Feb & Aug 2015

Industrial activities; naturally occurring sources

Chromium, Hexavalent

PPB

0.2

0.14-0.24

Feb & Aug 2015

Industrial activities; naturally occurring sources

Chlorate

PPB

174

32-330

Feb & Aug 2015

By product of disinfection

1,4-Dioxane

PPB

0.14

0.14-0.14

Feb & Aug 2015

Groundwater contamination from manufacturing process & landfills

 

Additional Water Quality Parameters of BWL Conditioned Water

   

The BWL performs an average of 16,000 water quality tests per year. This table represents results of typical concentrations and ranges of other parameters present in your water supply. All of these results are within acceptable ranges. These results can vary depending on the wells that are in use, the time of the year and the different areas of the water distribution system. For a pdf version of this list, please visit the BWL website at www.lbwl.com/water and click the Typical Analysis of Conditioned Water.

 

Parameter

Units

Your Water Results

Typical Concentration

Range

Calcium (as CACO3)

PPM

57

50-65

Magnesium (as CaCO3)

PPM

42

33-54

Hardness* (as CaCO3)

PPM

100

85-110

Hardness* (as CaCO3)

Grains per gallon

5.8

4.9-6.4

Carbonate (as CaCO3)

PPM

20

15-30

Bicarbonate (as CaCO3)

PPM

15

10-15

Total Alkalinity (as CaCO3)

PPM

35

30-45

Iron*

PPM

0.1

0.1-0.7

Sulfate*

PPM

90

45-80

Chloride*

PPM

60

10-100

Phosphate, Total (as P)

PPM

0.6

0.2-0.8

Phosphate, Ortho (as P)

PPM

0.3

0.2-0.4

pH

pH units

9.2

9.0-9.8

Turbidity

NTU

0.1

0.1-0.5

Conductivity*

uS/cm

480

380-620

 

Water Quality Table Footnotes:

*These parameters will typically be at the high end of the range during high demand periods in the summer months of June, July and August.

 

The BWL has Zero Water Quality Violations!!  

 

Water Source

BWL drinking water comes from 125 groundwater wells that are approximately 400 feet deep. The source of this plentiful supply is an underground aquifer called the Saginaw Formation, which underlies much of the mid-Michigan region. Water from BWL wells is transported through large transmission mains to one of two water conditioning plants.

The plants soften the water by removing about 80% of the hardness. The softened water is then chlorinated, fluoridated, treated with corrosion control, filtered and stored in reservoirs for distribution to customers. Lansing is one of the largest communities in the country to rely exclusively on groundwater to meet its drinking water requirements.

Protecting Your Water Supply

Lansing’s drinking water source is largely protected from contamination or direct contact with surface waters by layers of clay and shale. There are areas at the surface, however, that directly contribute to the aquifer without the protection of clay and shale layers.

During 2003, the MDEQ conducted an assessment of the vulnerability of the aquifer to impacts from human activities. Because there are several known and potential sources of contamination in and near the BWL’s wellhead protection areas, the aquifer in this region has been assessed as “highly susceptible” to contamination. If you desire more information on this local Source Water Assessment, contact Angie Goodman at 517-702-7059 or angie.goodman@lbwl.com.

The BWL actively supports regional wellhead protection activities. The United States Geological Survey has developed a regional aquifer computer model of the mid-Michigan area that provides important information about the groundwater supplies. Major support for the project was provided through a state administered wellhead protection grant to the BWL.

 

Actions taken on the surface can impact the groundwater we drink

Help protect this essential resource!

  • Conserve: saving water reduces energy costs and helps keep more water in our lakes, rivers and groundwater supply.
  • Never Flush: many items containing toxins are non-biodegradable. They clog pipes, destroy protective bacteria and wreak havoc at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. For a complete list, visit www.water.epa.gov/septic.
  • Medications: are NOT safe to flush. They break down in the water and wastewater treatment plants.  Treatment plants are not equipped to remove them and they end up back in our water supply. Visit www.takebackyourmeds.org to find a place to dispose of them properly.
  • Waste Disposal: properly dispose of waste such as gasolines, oils, pesticides, paints, and antifreeze. Toxic substances poured/spilled on the ground or down a drain can contaminate the water you drink.

General Health Information Provided by the EPA

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations also establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health.

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

Contaminants that may be present in source water include:

  1. Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife.
  2. Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining or farming.
  3. Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, stormwater runoff and residential uses.
  4. Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organics, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff and septic systems.
  5. Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population.  Immune-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk of infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their healthcare providers. EPA / CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection from microbial contaminants are available from the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

 


National Primary Drinking Water Regulation Compliance

For more information about our water quality, please contact Angie Goodman at (517) 702-7059 or Angie.Goodman@lbwl.com. Learn more about the BWL water system at www.lbwl.com. For more information about safe drinking water, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at www.epa.gov/safewater/.