State report gives Owosso high marks for water

Owosso water, treated at the Owosso Water Filtration Plant on Allendale Avenue shown here, has received high marks according to the latest annual water quality report.

OWOSSO — A new water quality report for the city of Owosso shows no significant sources of contamination in the city’s drinking water supply.

The 2019 City of Owosso Water Quality Report — which was just released but is based on sampling from last year — indicates the city met all monitoring and reporting requirements for 2019.

“The quality of our water is outstanding,” said David Haut, superintendent of the Owosso Water Treatment plant. “We could even be able to not soften the water, if we needed to. It was OK’d with the state. Our water is drinkable without anything additional except chlorination. That speaks to the quality of our sources of water.

“The fact that we are treating it and making it even better is a credit to the people who are doing the work and the design.

Owosso city water — which also serves the city of Corunna, and Caledonia and Owosso townships — comes from five active groundwater wells, each more than 80 feet deep.

According to the report, Owosso water contained 6 parts per billion (ppb) of lead in 2019, well below the 15 ppb threshold requiring action to get some of the lead out. Where levels are elevated, lead in drinking water can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children.

Lead content in water typically comes from corroded household plumbing systems. The report notes that out of the 4,232 service lines in Owosso’s water supply, 2,114 service lines are made of lead.

The level of barium in Owosso water was 0.01 parts per million (ppm), below the maximum of 2 ppm. Barium sources include discharge from oil drilling wastes and metal refineries, and from erosion of natural deposits.

Fluoride in Owosso water was 0.77 parts per million, less than a quarter of the maximum, 4 ppm. The typical source for fluoride is erosion of natural deposits, and discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories.

Owosso water had 2 parts per billion of halocetic acids, significantly below the 60 ppb maximum.

Halocetic acids are typically a byproduct of drinking water disinfection.

About 39 parts per billion of another byproduct of drinking water disinfection, trihalomethanes, is found in Owosso water. That’s about half of the maximum allowable, 80 ppb.

A small level, 0.41 parts per million, of chlorine, a water additive used to control microbes, was present in Owosso water.

About 0.4 picocuries per liter of combined radium, typically formed from the erosion of natural deposits, was found in Owosso water, compared to the 5 ppl maximum allowed. Radium is a radioactive contaminant.

The city also monitors such unregulated contaminants as sodium, chloride, sulfate, germanium, manganese and several others. To view the full list, visit ci.owosso.mi.us, click “Forms and Documents” at the top of the page and scroll down to “Utilities Documents.”

Owosso receives help from the state of Michigan in keeping contaminants out of municipal supply systems through its reactivated Wellhead Protection Program. The program identifies and protects the area that contributes water to supply wells, thus avoiding costly cleanups.

“We have to be proactive to protect our assets,” Haut said. “We have to be vigilant to protect contamination of watershed.

Haut said this year, because of the statewide shutdown, residents will not be receiving a copy of the 2019 City of Owosso Water Report. Those who receive water bills by email will see a link to the water report on their next bill. The report is also posted on the Owosso Facebook page.

In addition, copies of the report are available on the counter at City Hall. A copy will be mailed upon request by calling (989) 725-0599.

Those who own private wells, which are not regulated by the city, are being urged by the Michigan Ground Water Association to prepare their water wells for potential flooding and extreme weather conditions in the coming months.

For information about the best practices to protect private well systems before and after flooding, visit wellowner.org.

The flooding of water well systems can lead to permanent system damage and the possibility of water contamination, association officials said.

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