Arsenic in Well Water

Concerns have been raised in recent years regarding the presence of arsenic in our groundwater. Arsenic is a common, naturally occurring element in the Earth's crust, which comes in two forms: organic and inorganic. Organic arsenic is not found in groundwater, however elevated levels of inorganic arsenic, (the more harmful form to humans), have been found in the groundwater in some wells throughout Michigan, including Fenton Township.

Arsenic is a regulated component in public water systems, (including schools), and privately owned community well systems. Historically, these public and community water supplies were required to have arsenic concentrations below 50 parts per billion (ppb); that level has now been reduced to 10 ppb as of 2006. There are no regulatory requirements regarding arsenic levels in private wells and most standard water tests, even those for new wells, do not test for arsenic. If your well water does contain elevated levels of arsenic, there are treatment devices available, such as reverse osmosis systems, which have been shown to be effective in lowering arsenic levels. These units can be purchased from various water treatment establishments.

Fenton Township recommends that you know the arsenic concentration in your drinking water, and share this information with your family physician. Water samples can be sent to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to be tested for arsenic. There is a $18 fee for the arsenic test. Water sample bottles and the necessary forms are available at the Fenton Township office and the Genesee County Health Department.

For additional information, you can contact the Genesee County Health Department at (810) 257-3603 or the MDEQ at 1-800-648-6942.

For more information, review this printable brochure from MDEQ on the subject of arsenic in well water.

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