East Lansing - Meridian Water Quality Report: Findings and Takeaways
Tolgate Wetlands in East Lansing, Michigan
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The East Lansing-Meridian Water and Sewer Authority (ELMWSA) released the 2020 Water Drinking Quality Report for the City of East Lansing and Meridian Township.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), oversee the quality and quantity of drinking water produced by the Authority. In the calendar year 2020, the drinking water produced by the Authority did not violate any Federal and State Regulations.
Consistent testing is done to assure that the water not only stays fresh and pleasant tasting, but also continues to meet regulations.
Lead, an area of concern for many, was not found in any of the 11,852 service lines in Meridian Township.
East Lansing, however, hosts 4 service lines containing lead, and another 3,443 of unknown material, out of a total 7,935 lines.
“The City of East Lansing, because it’s an older city, there’s the potential that they may have some lead services, or lead goosenecks, which are the connections to the main,” said Derek Perry, Deputy Township Manager and Director of Public Works.
“Here in Meridian, we’re almost 100% confident of what our service line materials are. We either have plastic or copper service lines. We’re a fairly new community, our water supply was installed in the late 60’s early 70’s, vs. an older community [East Lansing].”
Determining the materials in unknown lines is a tedious process, requiring excavation inside of homes and out.
“You’re actually going to have to go down and do some excavation down to the curb stop to determine exactly what that material is, and go into people’s homes, and where that surface penetrates the basement wall, identify what that is. Materials were used at the time that people thought were safe and reliable, there are some lead services in East Lansing, and they’re working hard to identify and replace those,” said Perry.
“We are very fortunate in Meridian, we just don’t have lead services.”
This does not mean that residents cannot still do their part to keep drinking water safe.
“A big issue in the state of Michigan now is this PFAS,” said Perry.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are chemicals found in many waterproofed items, such as raincoats, rain boots, and frying pans.
“When they get disposed of in landfills, those are finding their ways into our groundwater supply. That has forced us now to take a look at those areas, and now we need to take a look at new science and technology to remove those chemicals,” said Perry.
“If you’re gonna use a chemical, even if it’s a chemical that right now science says is safe and okay to use, really think long-term: do I need to do that, or is there some safer, more environmentally friendly product that I could use instead of that.”
Overall, Perry expresses gratitude for the high-quality water in Meridian Township.
“We’re fortunate to have a safe drinking water supply in Meridian Township and the City of East Lansing. The dedicated employees at the East Lansing / Meridian water sewer authority do a great job of going out and collecting these samples, and making sure that the water that’s being sent out to the residents is of the highest quality and meets all regulatory requirements.”