Could Your City Water Department be Hiding Something From You?


The lead fiasco that happened in Flint Michigan keeps popping up in the news as new facts are uncovered.

This one involves the lead water testing performed by the city’s water department. It turns out, people in the department used some creative ways to make sure the real level of lead in the water was not reported.

As a result of these findings, a criminal complaint has been filed against Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality.

Here are the main points brought up in that criminal filing:

  • First, they didn’t include households they knew were serviced by lead pipes.
  • Then, for “technical reasons”, they omitted the test results for two water samples found to contain the highest level of lead.
  • Finally, the instructions for taking the water samples said to run the cold water for five minutes—this is called “pre-flushing”. And then wait six hours before drawing the water samples from the faucet.

This last one is a bit controversial because it’s not against the law to pre-flush, but it’s also not considered “best practice” according to an EPA official.

The article I read on these findings sent requests to more than 50 of the largest water department operators in Michigan asking them if they pre-flush before taking the water samples. They heard back from 41, and all but three reported back that they do pre-flush.

So, here’s my concern—should city water departments be required to takes water samples without pre-flushing? Let me know what you think.

If your home is on city water, should you be concerned about this one way or the other?

Well, you might be, especially if you know the water is traveling to your home through lead pipes.

We recommend that you have your water tested for lead, among a bunch of other health-related contaminants, so you know if the water coming out of your tap is safe to drink…

…or if you need to put a treatment system, like a specialized water filter, in place to get rid of specific contaminants.

That way, regardless of how your water department does its testing, you know that the drinking water coming out of your tap is safe to drinking and cook with.

We’ve put together a special test for people on city water and we’re offering it right now at a very reasonable price of only $129 including shipping both ways if you’re in the continental U.S.

In this test, we target 174 parameters (plus any untargeted volatile organic compounds found in the water sample). You can read more about it at ‘Bang-for-the-Buck’ City Water Test.

You can read, and listen, to the original article where I found this information at Michigan Radio

As always, I welcome you comments on this important topic.

Tips for Preparing to Start Using a Dormant Well

ajk-1736Because you don’t know what’s been sitting in dormant well, you need to do a few things before you start using the well for drinking, cooking and bathing.

Here are the simple steps:

1. Run the water out of a hose for 24 to 48 hours.

2. Chlorinate the well, preferably with calcium hypochlorite:

a. It’s highly concentrated (65 to 73% chlorine)
b. Granular form is fast dissolving which makes it easier to disperse completely in the well water.
c. It’s more effective when organic matter is present.
d. Has a longer shelf life than other forms of chlorine
Test the pH level of the water before adding the chlorine. If it is above 7, add acid, such as muratic, phosphoric, sulfamic, or sodium bisulfate, to the water. You want to bring the pH down to 6-6.5.
DO NOT CHLORINATE YOUR WELL IF THE pH is below 4 (the water can turn to chlorine gas, which can be dangerous in high concentration).

3. Purge the well again—this time use the spigot off of the pressure tank. Turn the spigot 1/3 the way open. Let it drain for at least 6 to 8 hours.

4. Test for pathogenic bacteria. Also, note if the water emits a Sulphur (rotten egg) smell. If either of these are present, chlorinate the well again, and retest.

5. If the bacteria and/or Sulphur sell is not present, test for chlorine before using for drinking, cooking and bathing.

If you want to know more about the science and techniques behind chlorinating your well, we’ve got a free video that you may want to watch. Just go to this web page and put in your first name and email address and you’ll get immediate access to the video:

The Shocking Truth About City Water

City-Drinking-WaterMunicipal water companies need to dose the water with a disinfectant that kills pathogenic bacteria such as e-coli—usually it’s chlorine or chlorine mixed with small amounts of ammonia which react to form chloramine (also called combined chlorine). The Environmental Protection Agency requires that a some of the disinfectant, called a “residual”, remain in the water as it’s being delivered to our homes. They do this every day after testing the level of bacteria. Some days they need put in a heavier dose of chlorine because the bacteria count is high.

One of by-products of the disinfectant, whether it’s chlorine or chloramine, are trihalomethanes (THM). It turns out that chloramine does not produce as much of these contaminants as chlorine.

Chloramine is toxic to fish and amphibians because it comes into direct contact with their bloodstream. For this same reason, people on dialysis machines must remove the chloramine because the water also comes into direct contact with the bloodstream.

While chloramines are generally not considered a health concern for humans, they can introduce an undesired taste and odor to the water. The most effective non-chemical method of removing chloramines is by running the water through activated carbon.

Long-term exposure to THMs has been linked to increased risk of problems in infant-birth delivery, certain diseases of the heart, and an increased risk of cancer, especially bladder cancer. The EPA sets a maximum level of Total THMs for drinking water to 80 parts per billion (µg/L).

The best solution for reducing the amount of THMs in city water is to use an activated charcoal filter. Some filtration units also include ion exchange and adsorption in addition to the activated charcoal filter.

Here’s a great demonstration on just how quickly chlorine-infused water can enter our bodies through our skin:


If you would like to explore a variety of treatment solutions, from whole-house to under-the-counter point-of-use filtration systems, we can help you.

Even before you do that, you may want to check out this web site—just click on the button below. Come back to us after that if you want more help.

Drinking Water Specialists

Lead-Tainted Water in Schools

School kids - Lead-tainted WaterThis ‘lead’ thing is getting serious! Now the focus is on lead-tainted water in schools.

Maybe none of this would have come to light at almost the same time if there hadn’t been the screw-up in Flint Michigan surrounding high levels of lead in their drinking water.

While the Flint problem was caused by a bad decision and ineptness of their city leaders, other places around the country are finding they have problems because their water delivery infrastructure is so old.

Schools, where are children spend most of their day, are becoming a major focus of concern. Many are so old that their pipes and faucets probably contain some level of lead—which could be leaching into the water as it pass through.

Read more about this lead-tainted water problem…

Here’s an article from Mother Jones that highlights the problem found in several older cities in the Northeast part of the U.S.

It’s downright scary!!

Read the original article

If you are concerned about the possibility of lead in your drinking water, you should have it tested. We can help you with that at