Contaminants of Emerging Concern

  • The BWL drinking water continues to meet or exceed all quality standards issued by the state and the federal agencies and have zero violations

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) to collect data for contaminants that may be present in drinking water, but that do not have health-based standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  Once every five years the EPA issues a new list of contaminants for utilities to analyze to assist with future regulations to protect public health.  Unregulated contaminants do not have a maximum contaminant level (MCL) or maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) but are reported to and evaluated by MDEQ and EPA.   Monitoring helps the EPA determine which areas of the country these contaminates are being detected and to develop future regulations.

    The Lansing Board of Water & Light’s (BWL) sampling periods for the rule were conducted in 2015.  BWL posts results of the sampling in our Annual Water Quality Report.  Since the last sampling, certain contaminants that can come from industrial sources have become news worthy and continue to gain attention.  In that regard, we want to be transparent with our results and actions surrounding these results.

    We are committed to providing our customers with safe, clean drinking water at the lowest cost possible.  The BWL will continue to monitor the water supply and will take necessary action if regulations are set by the state or federal agencies.  

    Acknowledgements: This document was prepared using various resources including EPA, MDEQ and CDC documents


Hexavalent Chromium

(Chromium 6, Cr6 or Cr(VI))

What is Hexavalent Chromium (Cr6)?

Chromium is an odorless and tasteless metallic element.  Chromium is found naturally in rocks, plants, soil and volcanic dust, and animals.  The most common forms of chromium that occur in natural waters in the environment are: trivalent chromium (Cr3) and hexavalent chromium (Cr6).  These two forms combined are referred to as total chromium. Cr3 is an essential human dietary element.  It is found in many vegetables, fruits, meats, grains and yeast.  Cr6 occurs naturally in the environment from the erosion of natural chromium deposits.  It can also be produced by industrial processes.  It is used in the production of stainless steel, textile dyes, wood preservation, leather tanning and a variety of other applications.

How does Hexavalent Chromium get in my water?

Cr6 can leach into water naturally or through industrial runoff.   Water supplies can be impacted by industrial waste by leakage, poor storage or inadequate disposal practices.

Is Hexavalent Chromium in drinking water a concern?

Cr6 at high concentrations can be of concern.  While Cr6 on its own is not regulated, total chromium has a federal drinking water standard at 100 parts per billion (ppb).  Total chromium includes Cr6 and Cr3 because these forms of chromium can convert back and forth in water and in the human body, depending on the environmental conditions.  To ensure the greatest potential risk is addressed the EPA’s regulation assumes that a measurement of total chromium is 100 percent Cr6, the more toxic form. 

Is there Hexavalent Chromium in my water?

The average level of Cr6 detected in the BWL water supply is in trace amounts, on average500 times less than the EPA’s allowable limit of 100 ppb for total chromium.   As part of the UCMR3 in 2015, Cr6 was tested individually.  The average Cr6 detected in BWL water was 0.2 ppb.  1 ppb is equivalent to 1 drop of water in an Olympic size swimming pool.

What are the steps the BWL has or is taking?

The BWL continues to monitor monthly for total chromium (standard is 100 ppb) in our water conditioning plant samples and the results continue to be reported as non-detect or less than 1 ppb.  Further evaluation of our well field showed Cr6 to be consistent throughout our service area at the average detected level of 0.2 ppb.

For further information about hexavalent chromium in drinking water, please visit:







What is 1,4-Dioxane?

1,4-Dioxane is a synthetic industrial chemical previously used as a stabilizing agent for chlorinated solvents, such as Trichloroethane (TCA). 

How does 1,4-Dioxane get in my water?

1,4-Dioxane is not natural.  For many decades, Lansing was the heart of industry and industrial waste was not heavily regulated resulting in the potential for the water supplies to be impacted by leakage, poor storage or inadequate disposal practices.

Is 1,4-Dioxane in drinking water a concern?

The EPA has identified 1,4-Dioxane as “likely to be carcinogenic to human[s].”  The EPA currently has a  risk assessment level for 1,4-Dioxane of ­0.35 ppb.  The EPA concludes that a lifetime exposure over this level may lead to 1 in a million people having negative health impacts or getting cancer.

The MDEQ has established a drinking water cleanup standard for contaminated sites of 7.2 ppb.

Is there 1,4-Dioxane in my water?

The BWL has two water conditioning plants; Dye and Wise.  The BWL monitored for 1,4-Dioxane under the UCMR3 in 2015.  Our Dye water conditioning plant showed trace levels of 1,4-Dioxane at 0.14 ppb, less than half the EPA’s risk assessment level, 0.35 ppb, and approximately 50 times lower than the MDEQ Part 201 clean-up standard.  Our Wise water conditioning plant showed no 1,4-Dioxane. 1 ppb is equivalent to 1 drop of water in an Olympic size swimming pool.  See table below for results.

What are the steps the BWL has or is taking?

The BWL discussed the findings with the MDEQ, developed an action plan and continues to monitor Dye on a quarterly basis.  Quarterly monitoring has shown no significant change in the levels detected.  Although the levels in our drinking water are trace, based on the number of industrial sources in our area we feel it is important to continue to monitor the levels so that timely action can occur if needed. 

For further information about 1,4-dioxane, please visit:








Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)


There is heightened concern regarding the presence of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) contaminating drinking water supplies across the country.  Recent news reports about PFAS in the upper (less than 20 feet) groundwater aquifer near the Adams Plating Superfund Site and adjacent RACER Trust locations (former General Motors Plants 2, 3 and 6) has increased inquiries among customers in our service area. The Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) draws water from the deeper Saginaw Aquafer, approximately 400 feet underground. 

What is PFAS?

A group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including the United States since the 1940s. 

Where can PFAS be found?

PFAS have been used in non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, some firefighting foams, and products that resist grease water and oil.  PFAS can be found near areas where they are manufactured or where products containing PFAS are often used, such as Adam’s Plating and Racer Trust. PFAS can travel long distances, move through soil, seep into groundwater or be carried through air.

How does PFAS get in my water?

PFAS is not natural. For many decades, Lansing was the heart of industry and the water supplies can be impacted by leakage, poor storage or inadequate industrial waste disposal practices.

Is PFAS in drinking water a concern?

There is still a great deal unknown about the health impacts of PFAS.  Some studies have linked PFAS exposure to several negative health effects. The EPA has set a Lifetime Health Advisory level (LHA) for two PFAS in drinking water: perfluorooctaoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) of ­70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS combined. The LHA is the level, or amount, below which no harm is expected from these chemicals.

Is there PFAS in my water?

The BWL monitored for PFAS under the UCMR3 in 2015 and performed additional monitoring in 2018 and no PFAS was detected.  See table below for results.


What are the steps the BWL has or is taking?

The BWL discussed the findings with the MDEQ and will continue to monitor our water conditioning plants annually due to potential contaminated sources in Lansing.  Although we have not detected PFAS in our drinking water, based on the number of industrial sources in our area we feel it is important to continue to monitor the levels so that timely action can occur if needed.   

For further information about PFAS, please visit:






 PFAS Chart



National Primary Drinking Water Regulation Compliance

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

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