I-Team tests water across Mid-Michigan for arsenic, lead - WNEM TV 5

I-Team tests water across Mid-Michigan for arsenic, lead

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You don't live in Flint so you don't think you have a problem with your drinking water. That's not necessarily the case.

Jacki Garcia and Jean Dean meet for coffee and tea every week at their favorite cafe in Caro. They don't give the water in their hot beverage a second thought, but years ago it was a viable concern when there was too much arsenic in the city water.

"There were arsenic levels in the water that were higher than should have been," Garcia said.

Carol Stapleton has lived in Caro for more than 50 years. She knows firsthand about the arsenic situation.

"I think the water needs to be tested every now and then," she said.

Meanwhile, not just in the Thumb, but all around Mid-Michigan residents are confident in the quality of the water they drink.

The I-Team discovered most communities post yearly water reports on the internet.

"We have very clean water coming in. We have very clean water going out. Now we have a brand new water treatment plant," said Robert Dion, with the Bay City Water Department.

The I-Team decided to fan out across the region and take samples of the water. The samples were sent to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for testing.

The intent was to test all 10 samples for arsenic. The carcinogen has been in the news lately due to its cancer-causing ability.

The I-Team tested water in Midland, Bay City, Union Township in Isabelle County, Caro, Saginaw, Flint, Flint Township, Chesaning, Grand Bland and Fenton.

The results revealed there weren't any levels of arsenic detected in Midland, Bay City, Union Township or Caro.

That wasn't too surprising to Caro, which was named the Water Utility of the Year this year by the Michigan Rural Water Association.

About 10 years ago Caro put a special system in place designed to weed out arsenic.

"We have had massive increases within our arsenic removal plant and good movement with replacement of our local water mains," said Jared Olson, Caro city manager.

There was also good news in Saginaw - no lead was detected in the city's water.

The I-Team wanted to test Flint and Flint Township for arsenic, but the state's EPA is so accustomed to getting requests for lead that the lab did that instead of testing for arsenic. The results did not detect any lead.

The results are did not detect arsenic in Chesaning or Fenton.

There was a bit of a red flag in Grand Blanc where a very low level of arsenic, .003, was detected. That's well below the maximum containment level allowed by the U.S. EPA.

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