Water and Our Health, What’s In Our Water?
An Analysis of City Water and Community Water Supplies
In this series of Blogs we will be discussing water quality for city and community water supplies in southeast Michigan, particularly in Livingston, Washtenaw, Oakland and Genesee counties. From city water to community water supplies all have their own water quality issues, concerns and methods to treat particular water problems. These city and community water supplies are heavily regulated by the state and federal government for the disinfectants used, how much is used, the processes used, along with an ever evolving list of drinking water standards that have to be met.
First of all, let’s clarify exactly what is meant by the terms City Water and Community Water Supply. Municipal /City water supplies typically get their water from a surface supply such as a Lake, Reservoir or River. Community water supplies are generally from a private water source which usually is a ground water well. Depending on the number of people a community well has to service there may be one to several wells in use to supply enough water to service that community and usually there is a “back up” well to supply water in case of well issues or in an emergency.
With this first Water and Our Health blog we will be discussing the city of South Lyon, Michigan and its community well water supply.
The South Lyon, Michigan community well water system services approximately 11,000 residents and have three groundwater wells that supply the community. The first concern when delivering customers water from either a city water supply or community water supply is for it to be protected, free of bacteria and assure every customer has “Potable Water”. To assure the water delivered to every home is free of bacteria treatment plants add chlorine to the water as it leaves the plant. The chlorine reacts with organics and bacteria in the water to sanitize the water system helping to prevent bacterial growth and protect against any outside intrusion such as a broken water main.
There is one issue with chlorine and its many forms that treatment plants use. Chlorine is very unstable and tends to break down fairly rapidly in the water treatment system depending on the size of the water system and how much reaction chlorine has with possible contaminants in the water supply. The more contaminants the faster chlorine residuals are used and the weaker the protection becomes as it reaches further out into the community. To counteract this problem the chlorine levels are constantly monitored to assure there is enough residual at the end user.
Because Community Water supplies are drawn from groundwater sources the water tends to be very high in calcium and magnesium (hardness). Many wells also have high iron levels (which causes staining and rust buildup). Hard water scale and iron can cause many problems in the household, ruining appliances, water heaters, staining plumbing fixtures and clothes. As chlorine, from the water system, enters the home it has served its purpose and needs to be removed at the point of entry. The byproducts created as chlorine reacts with organics and bacteria in the water (trihalomethanes) are known carcinogens so the household water should have the chlorine removed at the point of entry for water along with a conditioning system to remove hardness (scale) and iron (rust) to assure your home is operating as efficiently as possible. Advanced Water Treatment Inc. has several water treatment options to help you achieve the quality of water your family requires.
Below are several links regarding the topics discussed in this article and water treatment options.
- Health Risk of the Trihalomethanes Found in Drinking Water Carcinogenic Activity and Interactions
- What are Trihalomethanes?
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