Making Sure Drinking Water is Safe

. February 26, 2016.

Drinking water in Michigan is a hot button issue. Families want to make sure the drinking water is safe and we consulted with an expert to get some clarity on the situation. “If you are talking about Ann Arbor, our water is safe but every community is different,” said Robert Kellar, communications specialist for public services at City Hall. Precautions are taken to ensure community wellness.  “We test water quality regularly and people can go to to search for the water quality report that we put out every year,” said Kellar. “There are numerous contaminants and we check for everything from heavy metals to microbial contaminants. It is quite an extensive list.”

Testing Ann Arbor water

The bottom line is that the water issue is under control. “We do not have actionable levels of lead in Ann Arbor water and that is primarily because we do corrosion control, so there are no lead pipes in the city system but if people have it in their homes we do not account for that,” said Kellar. The only water tested is the water that comes out of the plant and tap. “We do sampling of homes around the city and we are good in that respect,” said Kellar. 

Still, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended using cold water for cooking and drinking because contaminants can accumulate in hot water heaters.  You may choose to run the faucet for two minutes each morning before using the water for cooking or drinking to lower the likelihood of contaminants being in the water.  

“If people are concerned they can contact us about the possibility of getting their water tested, although the concern is unfounded here in the city of Ann Arbor,” said Kellar. “We do not use lead pipes anymore and since the mid-80s utilities do not install them anymore, but the problem is not the lead pipes themselves it is the water going through them so if it is corrosive enough it will lead to lead in the water supply,” said Kellar.  “We talk about healthy household plumbing, sources of drinking water and other little things that people should be focusing on like not flushing unused medications down the toilet when they should be turning them into the county,” said Kellar.

We are fortunate that our city is safe for families.  “Ann Arbor has been in a good place for a long time and we make sure that we are very transparent,” said Kellar.  “We make a case that our water is a much better value than buying plastic bottles of water and wasting money and the environmental degradation that it entails, so you pay pennies on the dollar for drinking water on tap as opposed to a buck fifty for bottled water at the store,” said Kellar.