Campus Drinking Water Quality

The University of Michigan Department of Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) is proactively undertaking a drinking water sampling (Results) project throughout facilities on the Ann Arbor campus. In light of the water crisis in Flint and in other cities across the nation, the U-M administration feels it is prudent to assess the drinking water quality of our working and living environments. Historically, drinking water testing conducted by EHS in limited buildings of the campus has shown little risk of exposure to lead and copper. This project will methodically assess the potential for lead and copper in the drinking water provided to all campus buildings; will determine if there is a risk of exposure at levels above the regulatory standards through consumption of the drinking water; and determine how best to manage it if identified.

Background
Municipal drinking water is provided to the U-M Ann Arbor campus by the City of Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant. The water provided to the campus meets the state and federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) standards for potential contaminants as it leaves the treatment plant, including lead and copper, according to the Annual Water Quality Report issued by the City of Ann Arbor.

After water leaves the treatment plant, lead may be present in various parts of the city distribution and building plumbing systems in the form of lead solder, brass fixtures and lead pipes. The best location to sample for contaminants is at the point of use within the building. Drinking water outlets (DWOs) in the buildings include drinking fountains, refill stations and break room/kitchen faucets; all are used primarily for drinking water and food preparation.

For additional information related to lead in drinking water systems, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has prepared a factsheet that can be found at CDC Water.

How will you find out the results?
This project will run throughout the summer of 2016. Water samples will be collected in each building following established EPA methods. As we move building to building across campus, the results of sampling will be reported to the campus community. Click here to view the current building sampling results map.

What if we find something?
Based on previous testing results, few contamination problems are expected. However, if DWOs are found to have lead or copper levels exceeding state and federal drinking water standards (15 ppb for lead and 1,300 ppb for copper), various remediation strategies may be implemented working with the facilities maintenance groups.

Questions can be directed to EHS at 647-1142.