Great Lakes Water Authority tries to address concerns about water safety in Downriver communities

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-16 19:04:37-05

People Downriver continue to voice complaints that their water doesn’t smell quite right.

7 Action News spoke to several communities doing independent testing on their residents’ water after receiving complaints. 

Woodhaven’s Director of Public Services Tim Neighbors says the testing did not show any coliform or E. coli bacterial contamination.

“Those are the big hitters that cause problems in water, and it shows up that there is nothing there,” said Neighbors. “We will be working with the Great Lakes Water Authority to make sure the issue gets addressed."

The Great Lakes Water Authority says tests show the water to be safe to drink.  7 Action News asked the Great Lakes Water Authority questions about the issue as follows:

What has been tested for in the water?   

When taste and odor issues were raised in a number of Downriver communities GLWA expanded its testing, increasing the number of samples being taken at the Southwest Water Treatment Facility and within the distribution system.

Results of this increased testing have all shown that the water meets regulatory standards and is safe.
Testing has also been completed for bacteria, and all results have returned negative for bacteria in the water.

In addition we tested the Southwest Water Treatment Facility source and tap for volatile organic chemicals. The results indicated nothing unusual about the source or tap water.

We have also collected and monitored for hardness, alkalinity, turbidity, fluoride, taste and odor in sample sites within the distribution system and monitored toxicity. Results indicate the water meets water quality criteria except for taste and odor.
Once our investigation confirmed the taste and odor in the distribution system, the treatment plant began feeding powered activated carbon to mitigate the taste and odor.
What could cause the taste and odor issues?  
Taste and odor are associated with a spike in turbidity in the source water.
We are still investigating the situation to determine cause. Our primary focus is on correction, and the investigation is being done to determine cause and future corrective measures, if appropriate.
GLWA is committed to quality water, which includes taste and odor. We are ensuring that quality now, and are taking all appropriate steps to discover what caused this and mitigate the situation for relief to our customers.
Concerned residents should contact their local municipality with questions or to report an issue.
What more can you tell us about this testing? Where is it happening?  

The Authority is testing water for treatment 24/7 to ensure water quality.

Typically, when we receive complaints we will increase testing to investigate cause and ensure water quality.

With that in mind, all Downriver communities were tested last Thursday and/or Friday.

With an increase in calls today, additional samples are being collected in the distribution system in those communities that have had an increase in the number of complaints.

We’d like to reiterate that results of this increased testing have all shown that the water meets regulatory standards and is safe.
GLWA is a wholesale provider and therefore does not have direct relationships with residential customers. In situations such as this, communities have collected samples and brought them to GLWA for testing. The Authority then reports those results to the communities from which we received the samples.
GLWA continues to investigate the situation and has not concluded from where the taste and odor has originated.

Again, we wish to reiterate that all testing indicates that the water is safe.